Michigan State senior All-America Alexis Mathews (Detroit, Mich.) has been invited to participate in the USA Volleyball National Teamâ€™s winter training block, and will head to Anaheim, Calif. for an eight-week session. Mathews recently completed her senior season at MSU with a career-best campaign, and garnered the attention of the US National Team Program.
Under the guidance of USA National Team coach Karch Kiraly, the national teamâ€™s winter training block begins on Jan. 27 at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif. The training block will include primarily athletes who recently completed their collegiate eligibility, like Mathews.
â€œIâ€™m really excited to get out there and begin this training,â€ said Mathews, who participated in USA Volleyballâ€™s A2 program the last three summers. â€œIt is an opportunity for me to take things to a different level. Iâ€™m interested to see how USA Volleyball does things â€“ I plan to go out there, work hard, and essentially be a sponge - trying to learn as much as I can while I am there. Iâ€™m grateful for this opportunity, and canâ€™t wait to make the most of it.â€
â€œThis is an unbelievable honor for Alexis, and we are so proud of what she has accomplished,â€ said Michigan State head coach Cathy George. â€œHer journey during college was one of tremendous growth, and to see this happen for her makes us incredibly proud. She will be training and competing with some of the best athletes that took the floor as seniors this season. Weâ€™re excited for her to continue this journey.â€
The fifth-year senior capped her career with AVCA Honorable Mention All-America honors, putting together the most impressive statistical season of her career. She set MSUâ€™s single-season mark in block assists (172) and posted the second-highest total block number (184) in school history; Her 184 blocks was the fifth-highest total of any player in the country and tied for 22nd in the all-time single-season NCAA record book. She averaged 1.47 blocks per set (good for 11th nationally, and sixth at MSU in the single-season record book) and her .395 hitting percentage ranked third in the Big Ten and 26th among Division I players, while ranking fourth all-time in the Spartan annals. The Detroit, Mich. Native appeared in 135 career matches (good for sixth all-time at MSU), posting an MSU-record 562 career block assists and 624 total blocks; her total blocks ranks 12th all-time in the Big Ten and ninth among Big Ten block assist leaders.
Mathews is one of two Big Ten invitees to this training block, along with Penn State middle Katie Slay. Fourteen athletes have been announced as en route to Anaheim to begin training on Monday, but additions to the roster may occur during the training block.