Sophomore Szazynski bolsters Shaler Area tennis lineup

By: Josh Rizzo
Friday, March 15, 2019 | 7:49 PM


Participating in tennis in some form was always a likely choice for Shaler sophomore Cam Szazynski.

Szazynski enjoys watching Rafael Nadal, viewing matches on television and keeping up with old and new players.

Pedigree also had something to do with Szazynski picking up the sport about two years ago.

“My two aunts were tennis pros. Two of my cousins went Division I in tennis, and my grandfather built Lakevue Tennis Club,” Szazynski said. “I always wanted to play. I was going to play last year, but I played baseball for the school.”

Szazynski will provide the Titans with a shot in the arm during the season. The program lost five players from last year’s team, and Szazynski along with junior Sam Bens will be in the mix for Shaler’s top singles spot.

Szazynski put an emphasis on preparing to come out for the school team this year.

“I practiced a lot with my aunt,” Szazynski said. “I lost interest in baseball.”

Early returns have been positive for the Titans. Shaler defeated Vincentian Academy and Gateway in exhibition matches.

It’s encouraging for Titans coach Brian Duermeyer, who has a team with only one senior and has a roster full of freshmen and sophomores. Shaler is in Section 3-AAA this year, along with Allderdice, Central Catholic, Fox Chapel, Hampton, Plum, Shady Side Academy and Woodland Hills.

The Titans were scheduled to open section play March 20 against Woodland Hills.

“Really, it’s to learn the game right now,” Duermeyer said about Shaler’s early focus.

“My boys are learning where to stand, how to score and how to hit the ball. This is a building year and an experience year. We already have those two wins, so that’s awesome.”

Szazynski has been focused on working on his serve and keeping up with better opponents. Playing against cousins who have played collegiately has allowed him to challenge himself. With those matches, there is no reason to get nervous.

“It’s a no-harm, no-foul type of thing,” Szazynski said. “Even if you lose, it doesn’t really matter.”

Duermeyer hopes Shaler will be able to grow together.

While Bens and Szazynski will be solidified in the top two spots, the rest of the lineup will be filled out throughout the year.

“We have 14 kids,” Duermeyer said. “There isn’t a big drop from number three to 14. That’s only going to help us in the future.”

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