Mattera finds inspiration from former coach
In the sixth grade, Alexa Mattera made a decision that would change the rest of her sports career: she took a suggestion to try out for her middle school lacrosse team and ran with it.
Now, Mattera is one of Hofstra’s leading players in her sophomore season.
She’s second in team scoring with 13 goals behind classmate Alyssa Parrella’s 22.
That five-game total surpasses the nine goals Mattera scored during her rookie season, when she was named to the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie Team.
Mattera attributes that success to having more confidence and team building.
“I’ve realized my role in the team,” Mattera said.
“I have to be a big dodger … a role model for the team. I think that me having more confidence in myself really has helped me and improved my game.”
The improvements she’s made thus far aren’t going unnoticed, especially not by Hofstra head coach Shannon Smith.
“We’ve been waiting for this moment,” Smith said after the Pride’s victorious season opener against Bucknell University.
“I’ve been telling everyone in my interviews that [Mattera] has been really coming along.”
The East Islip native is no stranger to the competitive atmosphere of lacrosse. Throughout her years at East Islip High School, Mattera was a triple-sport athlete. She also played field hockey and basketball.
Although she no longer plays either sport, Mattera finds that the skills she developed in those sports are reflected in the way she plays lacrosse.
“I think the aggressiveness I had in basketball, the confidence I had, transferred over to my lacrosse career,” Mattera said.
“I think my athleticism, and sometimes my speed, from field hockey also transferred over.”
She scored 1,000 points from the court throughout her career in hoops, but the opportunity she was given to play lacrosse not only at a Divsion I school, but also somewhere close to home, was an opportunity she couldn’t pass up.
Being local means Mattera always has supporters in the stands, cheering her on and encouraging everything she puts out on the field.
“It’s really nice having my friends close to home since a lot of my friends stayed,” Mattera said.
“They can come to my games and come support me, and I really like having my family that close to me.”
After all, one of the main reasons Mattera ever decided to pick up a stick was because of Nicole Levy, her best friend since the second grade and her dad Steven Levy.
“Growing up around the [Levy’s], they were a big lacrosse family and they all encouraged me to go out and play,” Mattera said.
Steven Levy was also the head coach of Mattera’s high school team, and as a result, has had a big influence on Mattera’s life.
“He’s definitely told me that I just have to go out there and be the best player that I can be,” Mattera said.
“To give it all you’ve got and no matter what the outcome is, you’ve done the best you could.”
With that mindset, Mattera utilizes every practice and game to not only get better, but to make her presence known on the field.
She wants to consistently continue to improve her role with the team, as well as work on her dodging and right hand.
Aside from continuing to improve her own game, Mattera’s eyes are also set on the team’s goal.
“As a team, [our goal is] definitely getting to the CAA’s, winning the CAA Championship and then hopefully getting to the NCAA tournament,” Mattera said.
The Pride has failed to reach the CAA tournament since 2015 and has not made it to the NCAA tournament since 2007.
Currently sitting at 3-3 after losing at No. 23 Johns Hopkins University on Saturday afternoon, Hofstra still has a long way to go for a successful season. Next up for the Pride is a date with Dartmouth University on Friday afternoon, a team that will give Hofstra plenty to handle.
As the Pride continues their campaign this season, Mattera will continue to play her hardest and always with the mindset Levy instilled in her from the very beginning.