Feb. 7, 2005
COLUMBUS, Ohio – By Mike Vannest Ohio State Athletics Communications
Hard, work, dedication and desire. Three words members of the Ohio State men’s volleyball team use to describe freshman setter Daniel Mathews. Mathews, a native of Shorewood, Wis., was given the task of filling the shoes of four-year starter Mark Peckham for the 2005 season and has more than carried the load playing with maturity that is well-beyond his years.
“I play hard and work hard,” Mathews said. “Volleyball has been in my blood all of my life. I have a deep passion for the sport and want to succeed at every chance I get.”
Mathews brings more than just excitement and attitude to the team, he brings experience from the national ranks. Mathews was a member of the USA Volleyball High Performance Program from 2000-02 and a member of the 2004 USA Volleyball Junior National Team. And he credits his playing days with each team as giving him the added experience to help him succeed.
“Playing with Team USA was a highlight in my life,” Mathews said. “Being able to play with kids who were all recruited to play in college gave me the chance to see how I would be able to compete. When I arrived at Ohio State I had a little sense of how to play with guys who were excellent volleyball players.”
Prior to becoming a member of Team USA Mathews attended Shorewood High School. While at Shorewood, Mathews was named Wisconsin Player of the Year in 2002 and `03, and received first team all-state honors from 2002-04. As the accolades piled up, the question for Mathews was not what college would choose him to play, but rather, what school he would choose.
“I had a couple of good schools standout when I was making my selection,” Mathews said. “But when I visited Ohio State and saw the tradition that was here I couldn’t turn the offer down. Coach Hanson was a great person and made me feel like I was the right fit for the team.” Once Mathews signed on to become one of the newest Buckeyes, it did not take him long to fit in with the rest of the squad.
“Right off the bat I knew Andy Cole,” Mathews said. “He and I were friends growing up and played with the same club team. All of the other guys were great too. They really made me feel like I was part of a team not just a freshman.”
Upon Mathews’ arrival he quickly caught the attention of long-time Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson. Hanson knows Mathews has what it takes to fill the role of setter.
“Dan shows a great amount of dedication to this sport and his teammates,” Hanson said. “He is the type player that is not satisfied with just doing good he wants to be perfect at all times. Once he finally reaches his full potential he is going to be a great player and asset for this team. More than what he already is.”
With Mathews’ drive to be the best and help make his team the best there is no question he can help lead the team to his ultimate goal – winning a national championship.
“I would love to leave here with a national championship,” Mathews said. “This year we have a great team and a lot of unity and I know we can get to the `Final Four’ and win. This team will never quit until we reach that goal and that is why I am proud to be here.”