Volleyball: Watch Out For Matilda Angeloni

Image: Maltida digs one out on the base line versus SALCC. (PHOTO: Anthony De Beauville)

‘Volleyball Helped with Every Aspect of my life’

Image: Maltida digs one out on the base line versus SALCC. (PHOTO: Anthony De Beauville)
Maltida digs one out on the base line versus SALCC. (PHOTO: Anthony De Beauville)

ANGELONI, a 14 year old Form 3A1 student of St Joseph’s Convent who started playing volleyball in Form 1, is looking forward to a long and successful career in the sport. Her team finished second to Sir Arthur Lewis Community College in the recent Secondary Schools volleyball tournament and to her surprise she was singled out as the Most Improved Player in the finals.

Is she a future St Lucian star in the sport? The VOICE caught up with her recently for a short interview:

VOICE: What inspired you to play the sport?

Angeloni: What inspired me was the fact that it seemed like a fun sport in general. It seemed like a sport with more of a goal to it than other sports. It helped with discipline; it helped with being able to manage time; it helped me to think and with every aspect of my life. And my mother Cathy Belmar-Angeloni played volleyball when she was younger and she had a good time with it, so I decided to follow in her footsteps and see where it leads.

VOICE: For some athletes it is rather difficult to balance academics and sports. How do you balance the two?

Angeloni: Well school – especially in Form 3 – can lead to a lot of stress because you have more subjects and all that. Being able to exert whatever stress and energy you have onto a ball helps you to release the energy you have built up; and you feel refreshed to be able to think and do your school work. It helps to clear your mind to be able to work and succeed.

VOICE: What is your training like?

Angeloni: I started to train on Mondays and Wednesdays. And even if I was tired, my mind was clearer than what it would have been if I had to go straight home and focus on school work. As I started playing volleyball more often, I started training more days so I joined Le Club B. Now at this point, I am training 5 or 6 times a week. Gradually it helps more and more with time management; so even though you come home late on an afternoon your mind is clearer to think and work more productively in general.

VOICE: Any favourite volleyball player?

Angeloni: To be honest, I love all the players, my favourite player is on the SJC team; my setter, Kaitlin Gillard.

VOICE: What was it like playing your first final for SJC?

Angeloni: It was a good experience; I don’t know how to put it. It was an experience. Even though we lost, it’s inspired me to move forward and to get them next time. Just because we lost – nobody is going to quit volleyball. That just shows you there will be days when you win; there will be days that you lose and it helps me to realize in life there will be ups and downs. And this one was a down, but we just have to pick up ourselves, play and go again.

Image: Maltida all set to serve. (PHOTO: Anthony De Beauville)
Maltida all set to serve. (PHOTO: Anthony De Beauville)

VOICE: Sir Arthur Lewis Community College poses 11 players who in some way represented Saint Lucia at the Eastern Caribbean Volleyball Association junior level and Windward Islands School Games before. Was there any fear or intimidation while on centre court?

Angeloni: Actually No! When I saw that these were experienced people, it made me really proud. To think we were able to get… even though we lost, we got so close. We got to a score that was actually so high to be playing with these experienced people. So if they won with 25 points, we got to 22 points. To know that we were able to get to that score against players who had travelled all around the Caribbean, around the world. It just makes me happy to know and one day I will be able to play just like them, if not even better.

VOICE: In terms of parental support, what it’s like for you?

Angeloni: My parents, they are very supportive. It’s amazing. Anything to do with volleyball they will let me play. They got me a volleyball sets o I can play on my own at home. And their support has been great. Everything I do, they tell me, “Good job.’ Good job!.” And you know they are proud of me. Everybody seems to be proud of me, so I am happy with that.

VOICE: Your final words.

Angeloni: I just want to encourage anyone who wants to play volleyball, just to let them know it is an awesome sport. It’s the perfect sport. And never doubt yourself. If you start off on a low, there is always an opportunity to get better and be one of the best in the world, even though you may start off just picking up balls. You will get there. Don’t doubt yourself, you can do it.

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