Talkeetna’s Matthews follows her calling to Whitman College
The high school volleyball standout was torn between similar scholarship offers from Whitman College and Seattle Pacific University. She liked both schools and was having a hard time deciding where she wanted to go to school.
“It was a toss-up,” she told me.
At one point, she thought she wanted to go to Seattle Pacific before a phone call changed her mind. It was Whitman coach Matt Helm.
They had talked on the phone before, this time conversation was different.
“He sounded like he really cared and it was important for me to attend Whitman as if it were my destiny,” Matthews said. “He told me, ‘Taking risks helps create growth.’”
Just like that, she was hooked.
“I was sold on the small school with big ideas of Whitman,” she said.
Matthews, of Su Valley High fame, has already signed her letter of intent with the NCAA D3 school and will head to Walla Walla, Washington, this fall.
“Whitman is the perfect place to progress my mind,” Matthews said. “I absolutely adore children. It is my calling to help kids in need. I plan to study psychology and get deep into understanding the mind in humans, especially kids. And then we will see what that leads to.”
On the court, the 5-foot-11 all-conference middle blocker led the Class 2A Rams to the state tournament in each of her final two seasons.
She plays a defense-minded position but can easily slide over to play outside hitter when needed.
“I enjoy smashing the ball into the ground,” Matthews said.
She sparks the offense on and off the court, so much so they call her ‘Firecracker’ for her ability to spark her teammates.
“Encouraging my teammates to achieve their best is the most rewarding. That is why I love volleyball,” she said.
Playing for Su Valley taught her discipline and determination, which will serve her well at the next level.
“Being underrated in our region, I learned that one can always get better,” she said. “My old principal used to tell us a quote, ‘Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Til your good is better and your better is best.’
“I felt like it was very appropriate quote for my team and this is why I want to play college. I would like to better my volleyball skills and develop my relationships and Whitman is the perfect place for that.”