A-K Valley Athletes of the Week: Fox Chapel’s Shymansky, Riverview’s Cappa

Thursday, May 10, 2018 | 12:21 AM

Robby Shymansky

School: Fox Chapel

Class: Junior

Sport: Tennis

Report card: Shymansky has been a force on the court. Last Friday, Shymansky, a Yale commit, captured a WPIAL title with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Peters Township's Connor Bruce in the Class AAA singles final. The win punched his ticket to Hershey for the PIAA championship tournament from May 25-26. Shymansky holds a 20-0 record this season.

How long have you been playing tennis?

Since I was 5 or 6. I started at the Fox Chapel Golf Club, and it's where I've played for a long time.

Your sister, Laurel, won WPIAL and PIAA doubles titles in 2015. Who is the better tennis player?

I don't think it would be too good of a match. She used to beat me when I was little, but when I started to grow a little, it switched.

Which is better, your backhand or forehand?

My forehand.

Is it difficult to match up against a left-hander?

I don't change too much. I've played so many lefties in tournaments.

Which opponent has given you the most trouble during your high school career?

I lost to the same kid, Michael Dixon (Downingtown East), in the PIAA bracket twice. He plays at Butler University now. In the WPIAL, Connor Bruce is a good player, and we have good matches.

Do feel confident going into the PIAA bracket?

I'm pretty confident, but there still a lot of good players. I have to be well-prepared.

What's the first thing you look at when sizing up an opponent?

I think once you get to a certain point, you play to your own strengths. Sometimes I'll try new things during the match.

How do you get focused pre-match?

I listen to a lot of rap music and make sure I'm really warmed up well and hydrated.

Do you have any pre-match routines?

I'm pretty particular about the pairs of socks I wear and the underwear. I'm pretty superstitious of past results.

What is something interesting about you that nobody knows?

I do some volunteering at the hospital and for habitat for Humanity. I'm a pretty outdoorsy guy. I like hiking.

What is your furthest hike?

We've gone pretty far, nothing crazy, but 15 miles in a day.

Alyssa Cappa

School: Riverview

Class: Sophomore

Sport: Softball

Report card: Cappa's big week helped keep the Raiders on their eight-game winning streak. At the plate, Cappa hit a home run, a double, a triple and three RBIs in the Raiders doubleheader wins over Section 3-A rival Geibel last Wednesday. She also struck out 15 batters in one of the games, breaking the school record. She's tops on the team with a .490 average and leads Riverview (11-3, 9-3) in triples (three) and homers (four). Cappa is also an all-section goalkeeper for the Riverview girls soccer team and starts at point guard on the basketball team.

How long have you been playing softball?

Since I was like 5. I started with T-ball, then they told me I wasn't allowed to play T-ball anymore so I moved up early to slow-pitch.

What been a constant through the Raiders eight-game win streak?

Honestly, our hitting has gotten a lot better and our pitching is more accurate than we were.

Is Leechburg the Raiders' kryptonite?

Yeah, it definitely is. I feel like we definitely had a chance of beating them. Every team is beatable.

Who is the most difficult pitcher to face in the section?

Either St. Joseph's Anna Swierczewski or Leechburg pitcher Morgan Pierce.

What is the strength of this team?

Our infield is pretty solid and definitely our pitching.

Does this year's team have a motto?

“Play the game you love and love the game you play.”

What's your favorite subject at school?

AP Calculus.

Do you have any game-day superstitions?

I take a pen and I write down the No. 22 on my left wrist along with my pap and uncle's names. I always kiss my left wrist when I go up to bat.

If you could have walk-up music played on your way to the plate, what would it be?

“The Champ,” by Nelly.

What is your dream softball school to go and play at?

Florida or LSU. I've wanted to go there since I was five.

What is something interesting about you that nobody knows?

Whenever I was little, I was a national title dancer. I was 4. I did ballet jazz, hip-hop, and gymnastics.

—William Whalen

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