First & 10 conversation with William Chrisman senior volleyball player and swimmer Mati Salva


Mati Salva has been a lynchpin for the William Chrisman volleyball team for the past four years, serving as the team’s starting setter each of the last two. In addition, she has found a role on the Chrisman swimming and diving team this year, her first year on the team. Salva recently signed a letter of intent to play volleyball at Dakota State University and took time to talk about her decision, her favorite memories for Chrisman, as well as taking on a new sport so late in her high school career.
1. So what made you decide to go to Dakota State?
“It was a real connection with the coach. I’ve talked a lot with her and we talked about the system and the offense they run, and I decided to go there.”

2. What other schools were you looking at?
“I talked to a school in Lamar, Texas, and one in Redlands, Calif.”

3. Wow, Texas, South Dakota, California, are you trying to tell your family something?
“(Laughs) I always thought that if I was going to have four years to experience something different, then I should do it. My family will always be there. I believe in living life big. I always wanted to go out of state.”

4. How happy are you that the recruiting process is finally over?
“It’s wonderful. There was all that stress that past two to three years trying to find somewhere to play. When I signed that paper, a huge weight was lifted off of me.”

5. You are doing swimming this year for the first time. Why did you start that sport your senior year?
“I wanted to try something new, part of living life big. I knew I wanted to stay in shape for college volleyball and I didn’t want to play basketball, so I decided on swimming. It’s definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. You can see how droopy my eyes are. It’s so tough. I have so much respect for the coach and the other girls. I feel so honored to be a part of the team.”

6. You get to be a part of that team with your younger sister, Lexi. What has that been like?
“It’s definitely brought me and my sister closer together. We spend so much time together, from the three-hour practices to the 20-minute drive to the pool. I’m so much closer to her. It makes it harder when I have to leave, but I’m grateful.”

7. As the swimming season comes to an end, you have become the team’s best breaststroker, as well as earning spots in the team’s top relays. How naturally did swimming – especially the breaststroke – come to you?
“At first, I felt like a drowning fish. Then, after a couple of weeks, we were taught the breaststroke and immediately it felt natural. We work on the freestyle every day, I enjoy swimming that. But the breaststroke, I go out hard every time on that event.”

8. Signing day is usually a good day to look back on your career. What is your favorite moment from your years at Chrisman?
“Probably when we beat Fort Osage (in volleyball) earlier this year. Coming out, I was very nervous, because we had a new team. We had jelled together, but this was our first away game. (New coach and Fort Osage alum) Vanessa Jones had given so much to this program. We wanted that game for her and for us. The excitement and adrenaline we felt after the three games were over was amazing. It’s why I love volleyball.”

9. Back to Dakota State, are you going to be a setter when you get there?
“I was told I’d be setting. I obviously have to work for that position and fight for it. I’m going to give it my all. I’ve been in close contact with the coach. I went up for tryouts and to practice with the team. That’s what jelled. They have other positions nailed down. I was told my job is to go up and set.”

10. How excited are you to realize that you are now officially a college volleyball player?
“There are not a lot of words that can describe my happiness. I’ve worked so hard. My family has worked so hard. Coach Jones, (Chrisman activities director) Dan Ogle have both helped me so much. Feeling what I feel is indescribable. I am so excited.”