July 16, 2020 – By NJP
Nylene Mateo has been an absolute force over four years at Bogota High School. She finished her high school career with an absolutely outstanding senior campaign leading the state in kills with 526. In 35 matches, she had double digit kills in 32 and exceeded 20 kills 7 times. To put this perspective, she outpaced the cream of the crop of NJ’s best players like Jenna Rogers (Rutherford), Lauren Wilcock (Mendham), and Anna Morris (Immaculate Heart) by 55, 92, and 113 on the year respectively. She lead her team to a State Sectional championship.
But this is not a new occurrence for Bogota or for Nylene. They have been in that state title game 4 consecutive years since Nylene started playing, winning their third title in four years in 2019. Nylene’s contribution can only be described as prolific with 1,109 kills in her career. She has been an offensive dynamo and continues to mature into an outstanding leader. These are the characteristics that Georgian Court Head Coach Dan Sempkowski recruited as Nylene continues her academic and athletic career this fall for the D2 Lions.
It also doesn’t hurt that Mateo is a member of the National Honor Society as well and values the results from hard work and determination. Georgian Court is getting another “winner” to add to an already stacked team that achieved a 30-7 record and were champions of the CACC.
A lot will change in the upcoming year for Nylene. A new school, a new team, and who knows what the world will look like in the Fall. But the one constant is Nylene’s winning attitude and spirit that will serve her well in college and in her life ahead.
Here is our interview with Ms. Mateo…
Hi Nylene…Tell us a bit about yourself?
I have lived in Bogota, New Jersey for most of my life. I recently graduated from Bogota High School, and I am going to attend Georgian Court University this upcoming semester. My family has been very supportive throughout my whole volleyball journey, I know I can always count on them.
How long have you played volleyball and what inspired you to take up volleyball initially?
I had always liked volleyball when I was younger, I thought it looked like a lot of fun. I really fell in love with the sport when I was finally able to play on an actual team. I first started volleyball in fifth grade. In the summer I would go to a clinic that was located in one of Bogota’s elementary schools. However, my first time playing on a real team was in seventh grade. That was when it all truly started.
What are your metrics/details? Height, vertical, position, club team, etc. What’s your favorite position to play?
I am 5’11, an outside hitter, and I played for Pinnacle Volleyball Club this past year. My favorite position to play is the outside. When I started my freshman year I was a right side, and then briefly a middle, but I always wanted to be an outside. This is because the outside is usually a team’s strongest hitter and that is what I aspired to be. Sorry, I am not sure what my vertical is.
How are you dealing with the current world situation with COVID-19?
The current pandemic has definitely had an impact on everyone. I try to be positive everyday and hope that this will all go away soon. However, I have been staying active, and I am actually taking an online summer class to keep me busy.
You lead the state in kills as a senior with 526, over 7 per set, and won a group 1 state championship. Tell us about your senior year.
My senior year was definitely a challenge. The captains and I had to step up and lead our team. I knew going into this past year I was going to have to work my hardest, and that is exactly what I did.
Tell us about your decision to attend Georgian Court University?
Applying to so many different schools was very stressful. I had no idea where I wanted to go, especially since my major is undecided. After meeting the team and coaches at GCU, going on a tour of the school, and really thinking about it, I felt that GCU was the best fit for me. GCU has a great volleyball team and education. I am very excited to attend this school.
What do you have planned for this summer?
This summer I am going to keep doing workouts to stay in shape and get ready for the season. I am also taking an online business course to see if that is something that I am interested in majoring in. Other than that I plan to have as much fun as I can by going swimming and hanging out with friends and family.
Tell us about your high school experience with the Bogota Buccaneers?
If I wasn’t on the volleyball team my high school experience would have been very different. I would not have the friends that I have today, and I wouldn’t have been a part of another family. I also wouldn’t have a lot of the opportunities that I have today. High School was good but now it is time to move on to different things.
Tell us about your Club team and Coach?
Playing for Pinnacle this past year was great. It was cool playing with people that I have never met before and making new friends. It was also fun being coached by a new person. Everyone has their own coaching style and I liked having a new experience. I wish I could have finished this club season but Covid-19 did not let that happen.
What is your favorite inspirational video that you like to watch before games?
I don’t really watch inspirational videos. However, I like to listen to loud, energetic music before games. This gets me pumped up and excited to play.
What do you do during the offseason to stay in shape and prepare for college next year?
I am currently doing workouts and keeping in contact with the team at GCU. I have not been able to get in a gym and play volleyball but I have been playing a little in my backyard. I can’t wait to get on the court soon.
Is there a teacher or coach who really helped you along the way?
Every volleyball coach I have ever had has impacted me in some way. Whether it was my skills or mentality. I would not be the person I am without them.