Greensburg Central Catholic’s Sasha Hoffman excels on, off tennis court

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Monday, September 18, 2023 | 10:53 AM


Alexandra “Sasha” Hoffman got into tennis later than most who pick up the sport.

The junior at Greensburg Central Catholic only began playing tennis four years ago, while many of her opponents picked up a racquet in elementary school.

But one can hardly tell she’s a relative beginner because of her hard work and dedication.

“I basically play tennis every day,” she said. “I’m not going to give up until I know I’ve done my best.”

Playing every day may be an understatement. Hoffman’s practice and training schedule is not for the faint of heart and may rival that of any tennis pro.

Her routine consists of practicing for the Centurions tennis team and then heading to the Greensburg Racquet Club to sharpen her game.

“Over the summer I was putting 30 minutes aside twice a week to work on my serves,” Hoffman said. “My serve is now something that I can depend on in tough moments. Now I’m trying to work on those finishing shots.”

Her high school coach, Chad Bossert, witnesses her schedule first-hand and appreciates her work ethic.

“She’ll go right to the Greensburg Racquet Club to train and be there until 8-9 o’clock in the evening,” Bossert said. “Sasha’s also a leader on the team, supporting these girls and trying to further their experiences even though she’s busy playing elsewhere.”

Said Hoffman: “It’s rigorous to juggle that type of schedule. But I always attend my team’s practices and help my teammates be better. It’s rewarding when they find an edge to win a match or develop a new part of their game.”

When she’s not practicing or training, Hoffman is playing United States Tennis Association (UTSA) tournaments on the weekends and has traveled to Florida and Maryland for tournaments.

She also participated in the Western Maryland Open Championship last summer and placed first in women’s mixed doubles and women’s singles and placed first in an L6 at Allegheny College.

In addition to her tennis success, she was a PIAA track and field qualifier last spring, placing third in the 100-meter hurdles, sixth in the 300 hurdles and sixth in the 400 relay.

“Tennis is my first love, and I like to compete in track,” she said. “I’m a short-distance runner, so I learn to adapt my speed and quick reflexes to help me react on the tennis court.”

Hoffman’s hard work has her well on the way to her goal of making a deep run in the WPIAL and PIAA singles tournaments this year after a disappointing finish last year.

She won the Section 1-2A singles title over Mt. Pleasant’s Sophia Smithnosky last season and reached the WPIAL quarterfinals before falling to Sewickley Academy’s Ashley Close.

Hoffman has gotten off to a blazing start this year with an 8-0 match record and a record of 92-2 in games.

She dropped a game to Southmoreland senior Amelia Miller and another in a 6-1, 6-0 win against Derry’s top player, Danielle Dominick.

Derry, Indiana and Southmoreland are some of the tougher competition I face in the section,” she said. “When I do lose, I figure out what went wrong, correct it and get back on the winning track.”

Her biggest win likely has come off the court.

She heard a Pittsburgh homeless shelter was shutting down and got in contact with Smithfield United Church to see how she could help.

Hoffman has raised more than $2,000 to help the less fortunate of the Pittsburgh area through bake sales and has put together care packages that have been distributed to those living on the streets.

Now, she shifts her focus to helping the shelters and their efforts.

“I love baking, so I baked a lot of desserts, sold them and all the profits went to benefiting the homeless shelter,” she said. “I’m going to do the best I can to get them the resources they need. Basically, doing that the rest of this school year.”

Anyone interested in helping Hoffman’s cause and would like to donate can visit her GoFundMe page.

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