Click here to vote for Senior CLASS Award
Moon Township, PA -- Senior midfielder Kiel Matisz (Stoney Creek, Ontario / Saltfleet) of the Robert Morris University men's lacrosse team was chosen as one of 10 national finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award it was announced recently.
The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 20 candidates announced in February.
Nationwide fan voting will begin immediately to help determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website through Monday, May 14. Fan votes will count as one-third of the final tally and will be combined with media votes and head coaches' votes to determine the winner.
The initial 20 candidates had been selected for having notable achievements in four areas of excellence--community, classroom, character and competition.
Although Matisz's on-field feats often generate attention, he claims a striking list of accomplishments away from the field as well.
Despite double-majoring in economics and marketing, Matisz has compiled a 3.74 cumulative grade-point average at Robert Morris. He has made the Dean's List in every semester and has actually posted a 3.84 GPA since the beginning of his sophomore year. Matisz, who is also minoring in sociology, was named the NEC Men's Lacrosse Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 2011. The senior recently worked on an economic analysis paper for his econometrics course that examined what factors were most responsible for winning percentage in Division I men's lacrosse during the past five years.
Matisz's leadership capabilities were evident when he was selected as one of five captains for the Colonials during the 2011 season despite being a junior on a squad that sported 13 seniors. However, this choice was not entirely surprising when one considers Matisz's background, which includes membership in the Colonial Leadership Academy. The Academy is an intensive three-year program that only admits applicants after a formal selection process which requires recommendations from three distinct campus constituencies. The goal of the program is to "maximize the leadership abilities" of student-athletes who have demonstrated strong potential in this area. Matisz's desire to devote dozens of extra hours to partake in this academy in addition to his regular coursework and athletic pursuits speak volumes to his character and work ethic. Matisz is also a student representative of the university's Student Conduct Board after he received a recommendation for the position from the Center for Student Success. Student Conduct Board representatives serve along with faculty and staff members to hear student conduct cases. Matisz also has served as a peer tutor at Robert Morris, aiding his fellow students with instruction on introductory business courses.
Matisz also has been involved with numerous community-service events while at Robert Morris, participating in team-sponsored outings as well as taking the initiative himself to help better the surrounding community. He served as the head coach of a local fifth and sixth grade lacrosse team this past fall. Matisz also served as the director of the RMU men's lacrosse squad's fundraising efforts for the Headstrong Foundation, which supports those affected by blood cancer and works to eliminate the disease. He coordinated the team's t-shirt fundraising sales, which occurred both on and off campus, and helped out with the program's 'Movember' effort. Matisz has also been involved with a variety of events that he and his teammates have worked on together, including helping plan and participating in a Christmas Carnival for abused and neglected children.
Matisz is having arguably his best season in a Colonial uniform in his final campaign with the squad. He has put home 28 goals, already tying his career high, and notched 42 points in the team's first 10 games, which has him ranked among the top 11 nationally in both goals per game and points per game. He is converting on a career-best 46.7 percent of his shots and is on pace to finish among the top three performers in the single-season RMU record book in both goals and points. He has tallied nine multi-goal games thus far and has four outings with at least five points each. Matisz has not missed a game in his entire career, playing in 56 contests thus far, and has quickly climbed the charts in the Robert Morris record book. He is fourth in career points (144), fifth in career goals (82) and second in career assists (62) at RMU.
Matisz has been one of the key pieces in building Robert Morris into a winning program that has received national notice over the past three years. He has been honored with first team all-conference honors in each of his last two seasons and is a balanced offensive player that can score and create chances for others. He posted a career-high 20 assists last since to rank among the top 40 nationally in assists per game and also reset career bests in both ground balls (34) and caused turnovers (nine) while tallying 16 goals. Matisz had a monster sophomore season as he recorded 46 points (28 goals, 18 assists) in just 15 games to rank among the top 50 nationally in points per contest. He also claimed Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) All-Rookie honors after his 2009 season in which he totaled 20 points as a freshman.
Matisz is the only offensive midfielder remaining among the final 10 student-athletes.
The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award winner will be announced at the NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship, which will is being held May 26 and 28 in Boston.
Matisz had previously joined his former teammate, Trevor Moore, to give the men's lacrosse program Senior CLASS Award semifinalists in back-to-back years.
RMU has had six student-athletes reach the semifinal stage in their respective sports in the past two academic years, but Matisz is the first one from this group to be named a finalist.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Sportscaster Dick Enberg first conceived of the idea of an award for seniors in 2001. The award was initially awarded in men's and women's basketball but has since expanded to numerous other NCAA sports.
RMU will face with a familiar opponent this weekend as it continues Northeast Conference (NEC) play by traveling to Sacred Heart. The Colonials and Pioneers have met in each of RMU's previous seven seasons with Robert Morris claiming wins in each of the last three meetings. The two squads will face off Saturday, April 7, at Noon.