Hometown: Glastonbury, Conn.
Sport: Women’s soccer
Notable: Matteo is the starting goaltender for the Dutchwomen and has played a key role in the team’s success so far this season. She also was named Liberty League Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 12-18.
Q: When did you start playing soccer and when did you become focused on goalkeeping?
A: I started playing when I was five, but I started out playing on the field. I was a field player until eighth grade when in one of my games, my team’s goalkeeper got injured so I had to take her spot. I ended up doing pretty well and my coach told me I should give goalkeeping a try, and it kind of just started from there.
Q: How has the transition from playing high school soccer to playing college soccer been?
A: It’s really different. College play is much more aggressive. I played for my prep school’s team and we were pretty good, but the level of play in college is so much higher. But I do see some similarities sometimes. Like our coach, Brian Speck, has us do a lot of combination plays, and I did a lot of those with my high school team, too.
Q: Did you expect you would be getting this much playing time as a first year?
A: No, not at all. Brian did tell me I’d be competing for time, but I didn’t think I’d be playing this much. I’m just really happy to contribute to the team in any way I can.
Q: What roles have your teammates played in your success?
A: Everyone, even the other freshmen, have really helped me. My first game was really hard. During the game one of our defenders, Aly Leahy ’18, came over to me and just shook me and told me to do my thing. Also, our team’s captains, Breana Derella ’16, Jessica Farland ’16 and Victoria Marotta ’17, have been really helpful.
Q: What is the best memory you’ve had playing soccer?
A: Last year, when my high school team was in the semifinals. Knowing it would be our last game together, my friends and I played really hard. It was probably the best game I’ve ever played.
Q: What do you think are your team’s main strengths and weaknesses?
A: I think our main strength is that we have a really solid backline and we’re really good at playing out of the back. Our main weakness is that we’ve been having trouble scoring, but since Bre Derella ’16 tore her ACL, people have really stepped up. Another big strength is that we all work really hard. Like when we beat RPI with 1.8 seconds left in the game, we won that game because of hard work and pure mentality.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about Union?
A: The class sizes. I have friends who go to really big schools and they have big classes. In high school, my classes were around the same size as they are here, and it’s made the transition from high school a lot easier.
Q: Do you have a pregame ritual?
A: Not really, I just listen to the same kind of music. Our coach does have us all listen to “One Moment in Time” by Whitney Houston before every game. I thought that was kind of weird at first, but it works.
Q: Where is your favorite place on campus?
A: The first thing that comes to mind is my room, but I guess probably the soccer field, since I spend so much time there.