Getting to know: Mattisyn Cope

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  • LOREN BENOIT/Press file Lakeland’s Mattisyn Cope hits the ball during a match against Post Falls on Aug. 24. The senior plans to play at NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa next year.

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  • LOREN BENOIT/Press file Lakeland’s Mattisyn Cope hits the ball during a match against Post Falls on Aug. 24. The senior plans to play at NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa next year.

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Volleyball has been a big part of Lakeland High senior Mattisyn Cope’s life the past few years.

The 5-foot-11 Cope has been on the Hawks’ varsity since sometime during her freshman season. She was a middle blocker until being moved to outside hitter as a junior.

She’s played club volleyball for the Spokane-based VIP Juniors for the past three years.

In June, she verbally committed to play volleyball at NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, and plans to sign a letter of intent in November. She was recruited as a middle blocker, which is where NNU coaches saw her play when they were recruiting her.

Led by Cope, Lakeland has made big strides in volleyball the past two seasons, with statement wins over 4A Inland Empire League foes Moscow and Sandpoint.

The Hawks begin the road to state tonight, with a 4A Region 1 tournament loser-out match at Sandpoint. The winner plays at Moscow on Thursday for the region’s lone berth to state. Lakeland has not qualified for state since 2005.

“She continues to strive for excellence, with a grade point average of 3.8,” said Kelsie Badger, Lakeland junior varsity coach, and assistant varsity coach. “Mattisyn is a leader on and off the court. She leads by example and has a contagious positive attitude.”

Mattisyn, for her part, gushes about Kelsie, saying their relationship has evolved to more of a friendship than a coach/player relationship.

“She’s been here since my sophomore year,” Cope said. “Her and I have become really close over the past couple of years. Before he (Lakeland varsity coach Adriano de Souza) was here she was the one person that I could go to and would give me the positive feedback that I needed. She took us under her wing and then when he came she was here to help with anything that we needed. She’s one of my favorite people; I absolutely love her.”

“Mattisyn was a sophomore when I starting coaching at Lakeland High and it was a difficult year for her,” recalled Badger, who played volleyball at Freeman High. “Her love for the sport runs deep, so we have that in common. I have been able to provide inspiration to her during difficult times and with each passing year, Mattisyn and I have grown closer. Outside of volleyball, Mattisyn watches my children from time to time which has strengthened our relationship.”

Cope was born in Las Vegas, where her parents, Carl and Brooke, met. They moved to Rathdrum when Mattisyn was 6 months old, because Brooke wanted to be closer to family up here.

Cope has been dual-enrolled through North Idaho College since her junior year at Lakeland, but all of her classes are taken at Lakeland.

She takes two college classes and one high school class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and one high school class on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“I should graduate with between a year and a year and a half toward my Associates (degree) when I graduate from high school,” she said. “But I take all my classes here, from teachers that teach at the high school but are also certified to be a professor at NIC, so they do a class here. So I’ve never actually had a class on campus at NIC; it’s all done through here.”

When did volleyball become your sport?

Cope: “I played basketball up until around eighth grade, and once I got to junior high I thought I’d give volleyball a shot. And I ended up loving it. I played my first year of club, my 14s year, when I was in eighth grade. And after that, that’s when I realized that was what I wanted to devote my own time to.”

What about the sport did you love?

Cope: “The way the game flowed, that’s when I realized it was my sport. I’m not a big runner, so basketball, kinda up and down ... I played basketball since I was little, played some AAU basketball, then drifted into volleyball.”

What’s the rush from volleyball?

Cope: “It’s a fun environment, because when you get the perfect pass, and then the perfect set, and you end it with a kill, it’s rewarding that it wasn’t just your effort. It was a team effort, because not one person could do the whole thing.”

Being so busy with volleyball, do you have time for hobbies?

Cope: “I do play volleyball a lot, and it does consume a lot of my time. I do like to go hike, and like to spend time with my friends and family. I like to spend time outdoors, go snowboarding, camping.”

You want to study physical therapy in college. Why that?

Cope: “I want to be able to have an interaction with athletes after my athletic career is over. I have ankle problems, so it’s nice to have someone that can relate to your situation, kinda feel that little bit of sympathy. I’ve always wanted to do something in the medical field, ever since I was little.”

Adriano de Souza took over as Lakeland coach your junior season. Since then, you beat Moscow last year for the first time in six seasons, and earlier this season, you beat Sandpoint for the first time since 2005. What has he meant to your program?

Cope: “He coached in Brazil, and he’s brought a different vibe, and positive outlooks and insights. The energy is a lot different — easy going, exciting.”

Can you guys even understand him, when he talks to you?

Cope: “I can understand him pretty clearly now. When he first came last year, it was like, oh, this is going to be a little difficult. There’s some times when he’ll try to say a word and it’s like, nope, wrong word. But for the most part we’ve gotten an understanding of him.”

Last year you helped out at Betty Kiefer Elementary, where you attended, helping fourth-graders in class. What was that like?

Cope: “I loved it. At the end of the year I got thank-you notes from the kids because I helped them with their math. Just being able to see the kids finally click, that was really rewarding. So then I tossed up the idea of, do I want to be a teacher? A couple of years ago I would have never thought that I would want to be a teacher. I think I’m leaning more toward physical therapy, but, I don’t know, we’ll see what changes once I get to college. I definitely liked working at the elementary school.”

Favorite food?

Cope: “I love quesadillas.”

Musical tastes?

Cope: “I really just like today’s hits. I don’t have a specific genre that I like, just go with the flow, kind of a mixture ... ”

Favorite movie?

Cope: “My favorite Disney movie is ‘Moana.’ Other than that, ‘The Heat,’ with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.”

Favorite subject in school?

Cope: “I like math. Being able to go step by step (on a problem).”

Is there a story behind the spelling of Mattisyn?

Cope: “I don’t think so. I don’t know. My mom didn’t want it to be the same as every other Madison, so I think she just threw in a few Ts and a Y. When you go into stores, and look at the personalized key chains, my name’s never on there.”

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