High Interest Sloane
Wayzata's Sloane Matthews locks in and delivers for the Trojans
Monday, December 20, 2021
Resiliency is a word the Wayzata Trojans are committed to in the 2021-22 season and head coach Taylor Williamson says senior Sloane Matthews is a perfect example. The two-time captain has proven herself as a leader and a Division I athlete, committing to play at Ohio State University next year.
Matthews isn’t done putting up points for the tenth-ranked Trojans yet, she has 18 goals and 10 assists, leading the team to an 8-3-1 record this season.
A late start in hockey
Born in Boston, Matthews traveled across the globe from a young age for her father’s work. Between the ages of five to nine, she resided in England where she began figure skating and playing traditional English sports.
“I did a lot of sports in England like netball, rounders, a little bit of cricket and netball,” Matthews said.
Sloane didn’t pick up a hockey stick until the age of 10 when she moved to Minnesota. Her late start to the game hasn’t been a problem for the standout player, as her background in figure skating quickly made her a force to be reckoned with.
In the early stages, she played boys hockey for three years until eighth grade when she made the varsity team at Wayzata. The natural-born athlete was also playing volleyball and track but quit that year and decided hockey was her path.
“For me, I think it was just the environment that I was in and all my friends were playing hockey,” Matthews said. “It was just easier to stay with them and do what I love.”
Matthews has been among the team's leading scorers since she was in eighth grade.
A dazzling high school career
Matthews has made a name for herself with the Trojans over the last five years. In the 2017-2018 season she put up 23 points in 25 games as an eighth grader and followed that with 34 points the following season.
As a sophomore, the forward totaled 49 points, scoring 25 goals in 25 games and leading the team with 10 points in playoff competition. In last year’s COVID-shortened season, Matthews tallied 23 points in 18 games.
“She is just our go-to player, producing goals, strong defense and creating energy and momentum.” coach Williamson said.
Sloane has her “foot in every bucket” being a leading scorer, while also being a team leader on and off the ice. Williamson says players like Sloane make her want to show up to the rink every day.
“The way that she motivates her teammates, it's all the little things that make a big difference, and her presence just by walking into the room, you know, her teammates just follow that and it's amazing,” she said.
Matthews will play for Ohio State next year. "It's just a really good environment," she says of her college choice.
A head coach with pedigree and passion
Taylor Williamson began coaching the Trojans three years ago, Sloane’s sophomore year. Prior to being a head coach, Williamson played women’s hockey at the University of Minnesota, where she won a National Championship in 2018. In high school, Williamson played four years on the Edina girls team and won Ms. Hockey as a senior captain in 2015.
The head coach would “eat, sleep, and breathe hockey” growing up with her grandfather Murray Williamson – coach of the 1968 and 1972 men’s Olympic teams – but never expected to be a coach herself.
"The second that (Sloane) knows that she's got to turn it on, a completely different person comes out. She’s a gamer.” - Taylor Williamson
“I didn't expect this, it kind of came out of left field after I graduated,” she said. “But now that I'm here it's like, totally a passion and calling of mine and Sloane is the kind of girl that makes me love my job.”
“It's definitely a very loving and caring team. We have a clear mindset that is a commitment to love, energy, accountability, and resiliency,” Sloane said. “And I think just like living that out every day, and like everything we do, it just creates such a good culture.”
While Matthews is a dangerous player on the ice, she is also a “goofy” high school student who brings joy and laughter to the team.
“She’s super funny and makes everyone smile,” Williamson said. “But when she gets on the ice, it’s really not what you would expect. The second that she knows that she's got to turn it on, a completely different person comes out. She’s a gamer.”
Finding the right fit in Columbus
The senior grabbed the attention of Big Ten school Ohio State University, where she signed in November to join the Buckeyes in 2022.
As an eighth-grader in 2018, Matthews committed to play at Clarkson University but realized that wasn’t the place for her. When she visited Ohio State she could tell it would be the right fit.
“The school size is perfect and just the campus-like feel, how it's in the city, but not in the city,” she said. “It’s just a really good environment.”
At Ohio State, Sloane plans to major in Biomedical Engineering or Cardiovascular Engineering after finding a love for anatomy in high school.
Williamson has her own connection to OSU, as she was previously coached by Buckeye head coach Nadine Muzerall when she was an assistant coach for the Golden Gophers. She says the transition to college hockey for Sloane is going to work perfectly.
“It's gonna be seamless. She plays a game similar to, like, a Connor McDavid, super fast, her skating abilities are amazing, with a great shot and skill set,” Williamson said. “So for her to go to Ohio (State), and just continue to work and get physically stronger, you know it's going to be an amazing transition for her into that team.”
Before she leaves, Sloane has made it a goal to make it to state with her best friends. The Trojans will have to get through Section 6AA, which is the hardest section in the state, harboring Blake, Edina and Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
When Williamson looks back on her time with Sloane Matthews, she can’t think of one memory that stands out, but rather, the way she exudes joy to those around her.
I'm gonna think back to moments where I'm sitting in my coaching room and whether I had a good day or a bad day, just like seeing our door swing open and her with like the biggest smile on her face,” she said. “No matter how I was feeling she always puts a smile on my face or on her teammate’s face.”
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