Senior Spotlight: Allderdice tennis standout turns attention toward career at Lehigh

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Sunday, May 10, 2020 | 11:00 PM


Editor’s note: Each day, Trib HSSN will spotlight WPIAL spring athletes whose senior years were cut short by the coronavirus pandemic.

David Missry dedicated time in the boys tennis offseason building strength for this spring as he hoped to make runs at singles titles at the WPIAL and PIAA levels.

“That was very important because it helped me strike the ball much harder, especially on both the serve and forehand,” the Allderdice senior and Squirrel Hill resident said.

“I had a skinny build which may have limited me in past years. I figured that was something I needed to do to take my game to the next level.”

Missry, who has trained several years at the renowned Rashid Hassan Tennis Academy and also plays and helps instruct at the Murrysville Racquet Club, knows all about competing at a high level.

Last year, he made it to the WPIAL Class AAA singles finals before falling to Fox Chapel graduate Robby Shymansky, now a freshman at Yale University, and also advanced to the PIAA quarterfinals.

The three-time WPIAL singles qualifier was a quarterfinalist as a sophomore.

Missry also hoped to lead team aspirations and build on last year’s fourth-place WPIAL finish, one win away from states.

Allderdice played one match this spring. The Dragons defeated Moon, 5-0, before schools were closed March 13 and seasons were suspended before ultimately being canceled.

“I guess we finished the season undefeated,” Missry quipped.

Missry is looking to the future, and he will play at Lehigh in the Division I Patriot League. He plans to study in the school’s integrated business and engineering program.

Sewickley Academy’s Arjan Bedi is a training partner and one of your main WPIAL singles rivals. How would you describe that connection?

We’ve grown close over the past four years. He’s one of my closest friends. We go back and forth in practice all the time. Every time we play, it’s a lot of fun. We bring out the best in each other. We were looking forward to the possibility of playing again this year at WPIALs or states.

What is your best memory of playing tennis at Allderdice?

Definitely during my sophomore season, we were the seventh seed for the WPIAL team tournament, and we upset Peters Township, who was No. 2. That was a really fun time with the team. Everyone was so excited because in the papers, everyone was talking about how it was going to be a breeze for Peters Township. Being able to prove everybody wrong felt really good.

What is your best overall memory as a sports fan?

When LeBron James and the Cavaliers came back from down 3-1 in the (2016) NBA Finals. That showed great fight and resilience despite the hard times. I was against the Golden State Warriors because they just had too much talent on that team. It was really cool to see LeBron lead the team back. It was pretty inspiring.

Is there a tennis pro after whom you fashion your game?

My game is pretty similar to (Rafael) Nadal’s since we’re both lefties and we play aggressively. Watching him hit the ball, his forehand, backhand, everything is just so fluid. I try to be as fluid as he is with his strokes. His technique is the same every time he hits the ball, and his intensity is unmatched by anyone.

Are there any areas of your game you are looking to improve?

Everything can use improvement. Nothing is at its ceiling, but if I had to focus on one aspect in particular, I would say my net game. My volleys are all right, but they’re not great, and there’s definitely room for improvement. I just have to keep coming to the net in practice to get my volleys as good as they can get before college. Doubles is definitely important in college, and I need to polish that part of my game before I get there.

How did you get connected with Lehigh?

During my junior year, I did an engineering research program with my school, and I looked up good engineering schools. Lehigh came up as one of them. As I looked more into it, the academics, social aspect and athletics seemed to all fit together. I got connected with the coach. He came out to watch me play. By July (2019) he offered me a spot on the team. It all worked out perfectly.

Has it always been a dream to play college tennis at the Division I level?

I was actually looking at a number of smaller schools for academics. I value academics very strongly. It wasn’t going to affect me with what division the tennis team was in. I really didn’t care for all of that prestige of Division I for the sake of sacrificing other things. But I ended up at the Division I level anyway. It all worked out in the end.

Is there anything you’ve picked up or started doing more during the past month and a half since the stay-at-home orders first went into effect?

I’ve been running a lot more than in the past. There’s a track out at Schenley Park I’ve been going to maybe four or five times a week. I’ve been working on getting my mile time down and increase the max miles I can run. I just want to get outside and stay active as much as I can because it is much harder to stay active when nothing is open.

What is something that people might not know about you?

Before high school, tennis wasn’t even my main sport. I played just as much basketball. After an ankle injury in eighth grade, I just decided to stick with tennis. My intentions in tennis were never really to reach the Division I level until ninth or 10th grade. I didn’t know how far I wanted to take tennis. At one point, it was just something to help me stay active until I realized, ‘Wow, I really could get to that next level of college tennis.’

Do you still trying to get on the court every so often and shoot hoops?

Occasionally, with some friends, but I have to be cautious because I don’t want to get injured

If you could invite any three people from history to have dinner with you, who would they be?

Michael Jordan, George Washington and Elon Musk. I think it would be interesting. They are three pretty influential people. I think I would learn so much from each of them. They could learn a lot from each other, too.

If you could pick anyone to give a commencement speech at your graduation, who would it be and why?

I would honestly have to say my (Allderdice) coach, Keith Goldman. He would give us these speeches before every match. The amount of emotion that would go into those matches. I’ve never seen someone so passionate about something. He cared so much about the team and how we did. Seeing us succeed brought us so much joy. It would be great to have him share that excitement.

If you were asked to give a speech, what advice would you give to underclassmen?

I would tell them to find a passion, work at it and try to be the best they can be at something they enjoy.

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at mlove@tribweb.com or via Twitter .

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