FROM THE ACAC TO AUSTRIA

FROM THE ACAC TO AUSTRIA

by ACAC Sports Writer Curtis J. Phillips

You know in those athlete bios where athletes are asked such things as to, "What is their favourite food or favourite movie?"

Sometimes the athlete in question will change his answers the following year(s)?

Take for example Keyano Huskies men's volleyball star Liam Matheson.

During his four-year tenure with the University of Brandon Bobcats (2014-2018) in U Sports competition, he answered the following questions in back-to-back years (2016-2018).

What is your favourite movie?

First Descent.

The following year.

What is your favourite movie?

22 Jump Street

What is your favourite food?

Pasta bake (Mum's cooking!) 

Again...the next year.

What is your favourite food?

Wings, Lasagna.

Who is your favourite pro athlete?

Bartosz Kurek  

Who is your favourite pro athlete?

Taylor Sander

Only one answer remained the same through the four years he was at Brandon.

What is your career goal?

To play professional volleyball.

Well...keep the answer the same and the direction focused and dreams may come true as Matheson, 24, recently signed a contract to play professional volleyball with VCA Amstetten Niederösterreich in the Austrian Volleyball League.

"I set that goal to play professional volleyball – beach or indoor – when I committed to coming over to play for the Brandon Bobcats," recalled Matheson, a 6-foot-4 left side from Tauranga, New Zealand.

It was after his tenure with the Bobcats, that he headed further west to play for the Keyano Huskies in 2018-2019.

"Coming to play at Keyano was awesome," said Matheson. "The coach (Keegan Kuhr), the players, the fans and the school in general. It allowed me to get back to playing volleyball the way I always wanted to play. At Brandon I was on the bench or a practice player and coming here allowed me to start and flourish.

"Playing at Keyano and in the ACAC definitely helped me in landing a professional contract."

He would have an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) All-Star campaign earning North Conference All Star status while appearing in 22 matches and 73 sets; accumulating 238 kills 121 digs, 24 blocks and 40 service aces which was third best in the ACAC.

The Huskies would claim ACAC gold at the ACAC Championship, their first in men's volleyball, followed by a fourth place at the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Men's Volleyball Championships held in Red Deer, Alberta.

The host Kings would earn CCAA silver with gold going to the Ontario Colleges Athletic Association Fanshawe Falcons, making it a double medal at the national podium with their Falcons' women's volleyball team hitting for a  bronze.

Also joining Matheson on the Austrian club will be the former Bobcats; libero Brady Nault.

Already playing for VCA Amstetten Niederösterreich is former Keyano Huskies star Kornel Kowalewski.

Kowalewsk was an ACAC All-Conference selection in 2015-2016.

"I am happy with the contract that I signed," said Matheson, adding that the league runs from September 1 – April 20. "I imagine that the caliber of volleyball is similar to U Sports or somewhere around that level.

"I will have to give it (German language) a go and there is always room to improve my game in becoming an all-around better player.

"It is pretty surreal feeling. To finally know that I will be paid to play a sport that I love. The hard work I put in is finally showing through."