SOUTH KINGSTOWN – While friends and classmates are still in the process of figuring out where they want to spend their college academic careers, South Kingstown’s Olivia Mattyasovszky enters the 2011-12 school year without having to worry about her selection.
After three fantastic years as a member of the Rebels’ girls lacrosse team – which included Division III titles her freshman and sophomore seasons – and an outstanding academic record to boot, the senior-to-be already has her college plans set, making a verbal commitment to attend and play lacrosse for Cornell in 2012, making things a little less stressful as her senior year approaches.
“So much easier,” Mattyasovszky said. “I’m watching all my friends really struggle with their decisions - where and why and when and how many – and I know I’m lucky to have this done.”
Mattyasovszky started playing lacrosse shortly after moving from Block Island at the age of eight and played in youth leagues for Jeff Feaster, who is currently her coach at South Kingstown.
After a successful freshman campaign, Mattyasovszky joined the Metacomets, a club team coached by East Greenwich High School coach Judy Davis.
Despite playing in Division III her first two years of high school, Mattyasovszky was one of the state’s best attackers and proved it last spring after the Rebels moved up to Division I.
Her high school coach knew she had the talent to play at the highest level in college.
“As a coach you favor your players, so you sort of suspect that,” said Feaster, who coached former Rebel S.A. Fogleman, now a member of the Naval Academy women’s lacrosse team. “Honestly, it was more than size and athletic ability; she loved the game, she always wanted to play and had no problems working hard to be better. She was better than most players she was playing with and she just never let that get to her head.”
While her high school career was enough to get her noticed, it was her connection with her club team that led her to Cornell.
Davis played college lacrosse against current Cornell coach Jenny Graap, who started her coaching career as an assistant under Davis’ college head coach Pat Genovese.
At a tournament last year in Deerfield, Mass., Graap, Davis and her former coach were going out to dinner when she saw Mattyasovszky and her father walking through the parking lot. Davis told Graap she should take a look at the SK star and the next day, Graap was at her game.
“[Graap] came to a game that weekend,” Davis said, “invited her to camp the following week and that was it.”
Cornell was a good fit for Mattyasovszky, who was also looking at Brown, Tufts, Bowdoin and Jacksonville.
“I definitely wanted to go into the Ivys or NESCAC [Division III] schools because of their guidelines of how much fall ball and the restrictions the coaches can take you away from your studies is limited,” Mattyasovszky said. “I knew with the Ivys I’d be getting a great education and not missing too many classes along with sports.”
Her interest in Cornell only increased after her brother, Nick, decided to transfer to the school and once she went on an official visit, the decision was easy.
“Everything about the team, the coach, the atmosphere and the beautiful campus drew me in,” she said.
Her spot at Cornell isn’t guaranteed. Mattyasovszky still has to maintain her strong academic standing – she’s currently ranked 10th at SKHS – and the school had to approve her senior schedule.
“I have to apply like everyone else,” she said, “and that will be the final decision.”
Based on what she’s done, it doesn’t seem like much of a problem for Mattyasovszky and those who know her aren’t surprised at the accomplishment.
“She’s from a good family and I can’t come up with anything negative to say about her,” Davis said. ‘She’s a good kid and a good student and that was a big part of her getting to Cornell too.”
“The Cornell Big Red is quite fortunate,” Feaster said, “to get a person like her.”