Matthews’ magic lights up for USA at Women’s Super 6

Monique Matthews was at the heart of triumph in USA’s four-set victory over Italy in the 2024 WPV Women’s Super 6 in Nancy, France.

Matthews, whose versatility and power shone brightly, steered her team to its second win in the tournament, following their 3-1 victory over reigning world champions Brazil on opening day.

Matthews delivered a stellar performance both on offence and defence. She highlighted the importance of teamwork and resilience in overcoming Italy’s challenge.

“I think us coming together as a team and playing to our potential, I think we can beat anybody,” she said. “We had a lot of errors like we did in that third set, which we lost. So just eliminating our errors and playing to our potential is what we need to do for every game.”

Matthews’ reflections on the transition from their previous match against Brazil were particularly insightful. “Brazil are always high energy, so going from a high energy game to less energy. When the energy went down, our play went down. So we had to make our own energy,” she explained.

This adaptability was crucial in their encounter with Italy, where maintaining momentum and intensity became key to their success.

A true utility player, Matthews contributes to every facet of the game – passing, blocking, hitting. “I’m going to do a little bit of everything. I’m just trying to be an all-around player,” she stated.

This multifaceted approach allows her to fill gaps and support her teammates, making her an indispensable asset on the court.

Talking about her first encounter with sitting volleyball, she recalls that she fell in love with it because of its challenges.

“I got into sitting volleyball by accident. I was looking for a new prosthetic, and I happened upon sitting volleyball,” Matthews recounted.

Despite never having played standing volleyball, her competitive spirit as a former softball player fuelled her passion for the sport. “I like it because it’s so hard and it challenges me. I’ve been playing for 14 years now and I’m still learning new stuff,” she added.

The transition from softball to volleyball brought with it unique advantages. “The swing and throwing were very relatable. When I swing, I actually still grab the ball out of my glove on my swing for volleyball,” Matthews noted, illustrating how skills from one sport can translate into another.

Looking ahead to the Paris 2024 Paralympics, Matthews’ goals extend beyond just winning a medal. “To have fun for one, and to get better. Right now, I’m coming back from a couple of injuries, so I’m not quite at my top,” she revealed. Her focus on recovery and continuous improvement underscores her commitment to the sport and her team.