Spencer ready to take the next step in volleyball career
DAYTON – Matia Spencer wanted to play college volleyball, and she wanted to live near the beach.
Guess what? She got both of her wishes.
Spencer, a 5-foot-8 senior outside hitter at Dayton High and a member of the Black 18 squad for Capital City Volleyball Club, recently signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Brevard Community College in Melbourne, Fla.
Spencer’s scholarship covers books, fees and a place to live (with other members of the team)., which is about 10 minutes from the beach. The only thing the scholarship doesn’t cover is food.
“Coach (Jim) Saari was trying to get my name out there, and I told him I wanted to live (and play) close to a beach,” Spencer said. “He had a contact in Florida (Anson Mullen, former Capital coach). We sent a video and they liked what they saw.
“I went to visit the first week of May. I practiced with the club team that coach (Herb) Tokumoto coaches. I did really well.”
And, Spencer was impressed with the campus. Brevard has several different campus sites, all relatively close to each other.
“I was surprised at how big it was,” she said. “I thought there would be less buildings. It’s a good size. I even played some beach volleyball with one of the girls who graduated.”
Doug Ramirez, her Black 18 coach at Capital City, chuckled about Spencer’s yearning to be near the beach.
“She loves the water and loves the sand,” Ramirez said. “She’s a Hawaiian girl.
“I took her to Zephyr Cove to play beach volleyball. Sand volleyball is a completely different game. She loves to play doubles like I do. She was getting up and out of the sand and hitting the ball hard. She has the extension element that you need.”
Spencer admits that 5-8 isn’t an ideal size for a hitter. In fact, she was trying to put herself out there as a libero, a defensive specialist.
“All the coaches wanted me as an outside hitter,” she said. “I like outside hitter. I’ve been playing there since I was in middle school. In JC and Division II (or III) with a good jump you can compete.”
Ramirez said that Spencer got more confident in herself after seeing that she could hit around big block attempts. She had success in a couple of big tournaments, and that turned around her attitude.
“I’m not saying we did it for her,” Ramirez said. “We showed her things (at practice). Hitting around huge blocks with that big jump of hers, that’s when she discovered that she could hit at this level.”
Ramirez has no doubts that Spencer will get the job done at the next level.
“Her work ethic, determination and physical skill set,” said Ramirez when asked about why Spencer would have success. “She has a great skill set that she has developed over the years.”
And, Brevard will get a leader. Spencer is always talking on the court. She credits her communication skills with playing two-man beach volleyball where you really need to be on the same page as your partner as helping her in that regard.
With club season over, Spencer said her main goal is to stay in shape. Brevard starts practice the first week of August, and Spencer wants to get off to a fast start and make a good impression on her new coaches and teammates.
Save for some tournaments over long weekends, this will be the longest stretch of time that Spencer will be away from her family. Some are mature enough to handle it and grow from the experience. Others can’t handle the change and don’t finish what they started.
“She’s the type of kid who will handle it; handle it better than kids we have in club now,” Ramirez said. “She’s the type of kid that needs to sow her oats a little. I think she’ll be fine.”