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Mira Costa's Grace Watkins fights off Oak Hills defenders for control of the ball in the Feb. 29, 2020 CIF-SS Division 2 championship game. Costa won 5-1. (Photo by Ralf Stier)

Grace Watkins closed out her Mira Costa career in style.

The Duke-bound midfielder recorded 28 goals with 11 assists, leading the Mustangs to the CIF Southern Section Division 2 title.

She earned a second consecutive Daily Breeze girls soccer player of the year award the CIF-SS Division 2 player award.

Wednesday, Watkins was named the Gatorade state player of the year.

Watkins finished her high school career with 45 goals and 38 assists.

The award, not only recognizes outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Watkins as California’s best high school girls soccer player.

Watkins, who missed portion of the season while with the U.S. U-18 team, joins the list of state award winners that includes national team stars Abby Wambach (1997-98), Heather O’Reilly (2001-02, 2002-03) and Mallory Pugh (2014-15).

“She was our leader and she was absolutely outstanding again,” Mira Costa coach Patty Perkinson said of Watkins this season. “We’ve had some great players here and she is in the top three.”

Perkinson, who has coached Mira Costa for more than 30 years, ranks Kimby Keever and Viviana Villacorta ahead of Watkins in the Mira Costa top three.

“Grace has a tremendous drive on top of unbelievable athletic ability,” Redondo coach Shelly Marsden said. “You absolutely can’t get the ball from her. No matter if you man-mark or double-team, she still finds a way to hang on to the ball.”

She was just as dominant in the classroom, where Watkins recorded a 4.13 GPA. She was also a member of the Mira Costa Symphony Orchestra, volunteered with the local Lend-A-Hand Club, which feeds the homeless and she has worked with the Friendship Foundation, a group that works with children with special needs.

Watkins will join a recruiting class at Duke that’s ranked third in the nation by TopDrawerSoccer.com.

“She will be a great asset to Duke,” Perkinson said. “She lives and breathes soccer, she’s so dedicated to it and she has that dedication, drive and competitiveness . . . all of the qualities (needed) to play at the next level.”

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