Matt Anderson Sets the Pace for U.S. Volleyball
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Four years ago, Team USA volleyball upset Brazil for the gold medal in Beijing. This year, the Brazilians are favored once again, and some of the hopes for the Americans to do it again rest on the shoulders of the team's youngest player, and last year's leading scorer – West Seneca native Matt Anderson.
"When we play as one unit, we're one of the best teams in the world. We have a composure about us. We play together and stay together. It's pretty hard to disrupt it when we're playing well."
Anderson grew up playing in the Eden Volleyball Club. During his junior year at West Seneca West, major colleges began calling. He chose Penn State, winning the 2008 National Championship and national player of the year honors before turning pro.
"My time at Penn State was great. I learned a lot about volleyball, a lot about myself, as an athlete, and what I can take. I left early, after my third year, because I pretty much got all the accolades I wanted to in college - anything I could basically. It was just the next step in my career as a volleyball player."
By Matt's side, through the developmental days in Western New York and State College PA, was his father, Michael, an avid supporter. He died of a heart attack in 2010.
"I'm happy for the time I've had with my dad and what he's taught me, not just with volleyball. Off the court, how to live your life and be happy. And I am very happy."
Michael is still with his son in many ways. Matt honors his memory with a tatoo of his initials, birth and death dates, and is carrying his father's medallion to London.
"My dad was kind of the rock of our family, both for my immediate family and my cousins, aunts and uncles. We all kind of bred around him, and celebrate his life and what he's done for us."
And what better way to honor him than leading a team to gold.