Volleyball player Isabella Maticevski has always been very competitive.
So when she discovered volleyball in fifth grade, she thought it was the sport for her.
A year later, she was chosen for the school team due to her height and it all went from there.
“It seemed like a cool sport to me, it seemed like fun,” she recalled. “We had no idea of the skills required, we just liked to compete.”
It would be the start of a budding volleyball career.
With few places to hone his craft, Maticevski was able to find a junior development team in Maribyrnong led by Michael Dolan.
Dolan was also the head volleyball coach at Maribyrnong Sports Academy.
“Volleyball is not played in many places, but I always wanted to play this sport,” Maticevski said.
“I wasn’t zoned out in school, but I got selective entry because of my academic performance and my athletic ability.
“As a junior at the MSA, our training revolved around learning the basic volleyball skills that are essential to know and practice, dig, set and sting.
“Michael is still my coach and without him I wouldn’t have represented Victoria or Australia.
Maticevski has represented Victoria at under-15, 16, 17 and 18 level and has won several awards at representative level.
Just before the enforced COVID break, she was chosen for Volleyball Australia’s women’s youth team to play a friendly against New Zealand at AIS in Canberra.
Now out of the junior ranks, Maticevski plays in the Melbourne Renegades Club based at the University of Melbourne where she trains twice a week.
“I think I’ve always been a mature and responsible person, probably hearing about my dad, Lou played football and competed in international athletic competitions,” she said.
“He was always talking to his coaches to learn and improve. He was very disciplined to make sure he was always at his best to compete. My mother Bo instilled that in me too.
“The year I captained the Under-15 team was my toughest experience, but also a pivotal time that helped shape my leadership skills.”
Maticevski has a simple mantra that she applies to everything she does: “If they can do it, so can I.”
She has been an integral part of the MSA’s beach volleyball program and won a bronze medal at the 2018 Australian National Volleyball Championships, as well as first place at the School Beach Volleyball Championships in Australia. Victoria for three consecutive years.
On the pitch, Maticevski has big goals.
“I hope to be chosen for the 2023 Australian Volleyball Academy and go to AIS, and if so. The 2032 Olympics in Brisbane are my long-term sporting goal.
Maticevski is March’s nominee for the Don Deeble Award. The Don Deeble Sports Star Award is sponsored by Yarraville Club Cricket Club, Strathmore Community Bank, Deer Park Club, Ascot Vale Sports and Trophyes and Star Weekly Newspapers.
If you would like to nominate a monthly winner or attend a dinner at Medway Golf Club, please contact the club by emailing [email protected] or texting 0408 556 631.