Catching Up: Volleyball
player Jeff Mattingley
By Kyle Hampson
SHOULD’VE NEVER LEFT TOM HANKS. Western volleyball
player Jeff Mattingley winds up to punish a scared volleyball
at the opposing team.
Controlled aggression — is there such a thing?
Western men’s volleyball coach Jim Sage seems to think so,
at least when describing Jeff Mattingley’s performance on
the court. “Jeff plays the game with such emotion, leadership
and heart. He displays something I would call controlled aggression,” he
Sage has had the pleasure of coaching Mattingley at different
levels, in a Juvenile league here in London and now at Western.
“I’ve always enjoyed coaching Jeff, even though the
experience has been sort of limited,” Sage explains. “He’s
brought so much to every team he’s been on. He took four
years off from volleyball and experimented with other sports, but
came back the last two years and simply dominated the competition.”
As a natural, all-around athlete, Mattingley has been able to
display above average performances in every sport he has competed
“I played both hockey and basketball at fairly competitive
levels when I was younger,” Mattingley says. “I actually
tried out for the [Western] basketball team. I went near the final
rounds of cuts, but decided that it wasn’t the right choice
for me at the time.
“Coming back to volleyball, and being coached by Jim Sage
again, definitely made the transition a lot easier for me. He pushes
me to work hard, but I consider him a great friend,” Mattingley
says, showing his appreciation for his long-time coach.
It turns out his decision was the correct one as he — along
with teammate Pete Sidler — has been one of Western’s
best players over the past few years. His statistics from the 2004
season prove it. Mattingley led his teammates in total kills for
the season with 214 in 70 games played, giving him an average of
3.06 per game. He was second on the team in service aces — which
placed him eighth in Ontario University Athletics, and was third
on the team in blocks. His performance this season led directly
to many of Western’s victories during the 2003/04 campaign.
Mattingley has played volleyball for the Western men’s team
the last two years, and was dominant again this season. His powerful
spikes equated into many kills and thus, numerous points for the
“Jeff is definitely one of the hardest hitter’s in
the OUA, if not Canada. He has unlimited potential to improve as
well, it’s almost scary,” Sage says.
Mattingley has always had a powerful swing, and apparently has
left an impression on many of his opponents, literally.
“I’ve hit a few people with the ball extremely hard.
I remember one instance in high school when I knocked some guy
out,” Mattingley says.
During one game this year against York University, Mattingley
hit a player directly on the left cheek, causing the player’s
head to jolt back approximately one foot. Teammate Kyle Brady remembers
playing against Mattingley when both were young players in London.
“All I heard leading up to the game against Oakridge (Mattingley’s
high school team) was how hard Jeff hits the ball and how good
he was. This was coming from our own coach,” Brady says.
One would think Mattingley is a prototypical spiker, however,
according to textbook volleyball his swing is far from perfect.
“I’ve always had an awkward swing. Many people have
told me so, but it gets the job done I guess. I can’t complain
about it now.”
This is a guy that opponents fear, especially blockers at the
net who see Mattingley and his awkward swing winding up to punish
a Wilson volleyball right into their awaiting bodies.
“He’s a guy you hate playing against but love having
on your team,” Brady says.
Certainly, many opposing OUA players would tell you the same.
Mattingley graduates from Western this year, which means he will
not be returning to Alumni Hall’s volleyball court next season.
Teams across the OUA must be rejoicing at the fact they will not
have to face Mattingley and his “controlled aggression” again.