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Athlete of the Week: Matt Cooke, Alexander
by E. Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
April 23, 2014 11:13 AM | 684 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Alexander boys’ soccer player and team captain Matt Cooke knows the strong tradition of the Cougars’ program which has made the state playoffs each of the previous 12 seasons. However, after a 2-3 start to the season and a rash of injuries, the prospects of continuing the streak looked bleak.

Switching from his normal position in the midfield to center back on defense, Cooke helped lead Alexander to a four-match unbeaten streak March 25 to April 16, including two crucial region victories over Troup County and Shaw, to be in contention for a postseason spot in the Class 4A playoffs.

“I’ve had to play defense this year because I’m a commanding presence as the captain,” Cooke stated. “We’ve had injuries but our underclassmen have been able to step up in their positions as varsity players. Making the playoffs is a tradition here.”

Cooke has led a defensive unit that’s allowed more than three goals in a contest only twice this season.

“We’ve gotten some players back and will be able to have a lockdown defense for the postseason,” Cooke said.

Cooke is a member of the National Honor Society and Beta Club at Alexander. He will play soccer at Oglethorpe University this fall and major in mechanical engineering.

Upon qualification, the Cougars’ first-round playoff match will be on April 29.

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