Ace Matias joined the team in August 2011 and comes to the U from Torrance, California. Born in a tennis family (his sister was a star tennis player for USC and his brother played for UC Riverside) Ace was a 5-star recruit, ranked as high as #26 in the nation and #3 in the Southern California section.
So far, Ace is 5-4 on the season in singles, playing mainly in the bottom half of the line up.
Please meet, Ace Matias!
QUESTION: Ace, welcome to Utah. You have been on the team now for about a semester and a half, how would you describe your freshman year so far?
ACE: This year has just been a new experience for me. Everything from the training, school, and new environment has been a huge change for the good. The team has also been great and I immediately felt part of the family once I got here.
QUESTION: You are a highly recruited athlete from Southern California, why did you choose Utah?
ACE: A lot of people ask me this question since I come from California, but I found it to be a silly question after a while. Why not choose Utah? I love the campus at the university. It’s beautiful and very accommodating. Being far away from home has also been a good experience for me. Independence is always a skill that should be learned early. Also with the school joining the PAC-12, it’s an honor to be playing in such an elite conference.
QUESTION: How is college tennis different from junior tennis?
ACE: College tennis is a whole different game compared to junior tennis. Junior tennis was more about just playing and if you win you win, you lose you lose, but with college, you’re now playing for a team. You do everything you can to not let your team down and fight all the way, whereas in junior tennis, your only motivation is yourself, and sometimes that’s not enough. College tennis really brings out the best in you and the opponents are also tougher since they won’t just give the match away as well, so you really learn a lot about yourself.
QUESTION: Was it a big adjustment for you to go from junior tennis in California to college tennis in the Pac-12 at Utah?
ACE: The location itself has been a big change. Moving from sea level to higher elevation was something new to me. I was out of breath during the first few days of practice, but after right now I’m in the best shape I’ve ever been and it has improved my tennis a lot.
QUESTION: It has been an up and down season for you so far. You started off really well, then lost a few matches in a row, were even taken out of the line up for a couple of matches. How would you describe your season so far?
ACE: I would describe it as a rollercoaster ride. I was playing well in the fall but when the season started, I wasn’t playing too well. Since most of the tournaments in the fall were individual I wasn’t as nervous about playing since it didn’t effect my team as much if I lost. When team play started though, the nerves got the best of me and it really affected my play. The coaches have really worked with me though and taught me that I have to play to win, not to lose. This has really got my confidence back up and I played pretty well in the last two matches in Colorado.
QUESTION: What are your goals for this year?
ACE: My goals this year is to just improve my game and to help my team make it to the NCAAs. I don’t think rankings are something to worry about, all you can do is just play.
QUESTION: What would you tell people about Utah if they asked you?
ACE: Most people misunderstand Utah and always ask me why I’d give up California weather for Utah, but it’s a lot nicer here than people think. When I arrived in August, the weather was very warm and nice, just like California. The winter’s are cold but the snow is beautiful. It’s a lot different than California, but Utah is great in its own way. It’s a great place to be!
QUESTION: What is your favorite memory so far this year?
ACE: Just hanging out with the team has been great. Everything from the tennis trips to doing recreational stuff like going to concerts around the Salt Lake area have been awesome. My whole time here has been a great experience that it’s hard to just choose one.