By Drew Karpen
MEADVILLE — Saegertown senior Jeff Mattocks, who came over from Haiti in 2010, helped lead the Panthers to their first postseason win in school history this year. That's one of the reasons why he was named The Meadville Tribune's Boys Soccer Player of the Year. In the Class AA District 10 quarterfinals, Mattocks gave the Panthers some breathing room, assisting on the second goal late in the second half to propel Saegertown to a 2-0 victory over Wilmington.
In his third year as a starter, Mattocks was joined by Greg Bras to form what may be the school’s best defensive duo ever, giving up a minuscule 11 goals in 18 regular season games. Mattocks earned a first team Region 4 defensive player selection for his performance this year. Although he was a defender, Mattocks had the mindset of a midfielder, which he played up until this year. He was second on the team with seven goals and led the Panthers with nine assists for a total of 23 points. Mattocks was second to the 41 points tallied by junior striker Matt Schenberg.
Season highlight: Besides competing in the playoffs for the first time, Mattocks ironically saw a change in his game in a loss. In the sixth game of the season, Saegertown lost a 1-0 overtime decision to Grove City, but the loss gave Mattocks a sign of confidence. After the game, the opposing players and coaches could not stop commenting on how great of a player he was. “That really opened his eyes to how important he was in a different role than what he is used to,” Saegertown head coach Ryan Schenck said.
What the coach says: “He is a great all-around player. He had been playing midfield in previous years. This was a new role for him. He has showed us all year that he has great passing skills and vision. He was very comfortable with the ball and only grew from there. Jeff definitely developed as a leader. He wasn’t too much of a vocal leader but he spoke when he needed to.” — Ryan Schenck, Saegertown head boys soccer coach.
What we say: This year’s choice could have been rewarded to a number of players on Saegertown’s roster. Mattocks’ partner in crime, Bras, was just as outstanding as Mattocks on the defensive end. Schenberg was the team’s leading scorer with 17 goals. And keeper Ross Ferguson recorded a school record 10 shutouts.
But neither of those three had the overall skill set as Mattocks. He was able to hold the opposition on defense, and at the same time push the ball up the field to start an offensive attack. He was one of the few players on the field that opposing coaches had to gameplan around. In his three seasons at Saegertown, Mattocks helped the Panthers improve every year from 3-15 in 2010 to 8-7-1 in 2011 to 14-5-1 this season.
It is unknown where the senior will be heading next season, but wherever he chooses, that group will be receiving the jack of all trades.