Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Latrobe’s Avery Massaro
Monday, October 10, 2022 | 11:05 AM
Being a part of a WPIAL championship team is the ultimate dream for any high school athlete in Western Pennsylvania.
Being a part of a state championship contender isn’t bad either.
While the Latrobe girls tennis team didn’t win the PIAA title in 2020, the Wildcats made it all the way to the finals and finished as the runner-up.
Latrobe senior Avery Massaro, who played second doubles as a sophomore that season, recalled what that experience was like.
“It was so exciting because our school has done that in the past but not for a while,” Massaro said.
“We were like the underdogs in the whole WPIAL, then we came out winning, which was really cool.”
The last couple of years, Massaro has played behind top players such as Carolina Walters and Jenna Bell in Latrobe’s lineup.
This year, she’s the No. 1 singles player.
“It was really nice, especially for my senior year, (getting) to play first,” Massaro said.
“I got to focus on myself for the singles and then with my partner and I for the doubles.”
Massaro and her doubles partner, Taylor Shanefelter, have been outstanding this year, recently making it to the semifinals of the Section 1-3A tournament.
Massaro also found singles success this year, placing as the runner-up to freshman standout Mia Williams from Penn-Trafford at the Section 1-3A tournament.
In fact, Massaro was the only girl to take a game from Williams in the regular season. That was definitely something she took pride in.
“(Williams) has so much experience, so much tournament experience, and she’s just such a good player,” Massaro said. “It’s making my game better by getting to play someone like her.”
Massaro has not committed to a plan for after high school, but she’s leaning toward going into a five-year physician assistant program and would love to continue playing tennis if possible.
This week, Massaro took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:
How did you get started with tennis?
I started playing when I was 5 at the Greensburg Racquet Club, just taking lessons and clinics. I’ve played ever since.
What is the difference between doubles and singles, either physically or in terms of your mindset?
I think for doubles it’s more of a strategy. I think being able to not necessarily rely on your partner, but know that she can do well, too. I think, for sure, singles is mentally harder and physically harder, obviously, because you have to run more, and you have to have more endurance. You have to have the mindset of having a lot more patience. I feel like you just know that you can do it, even if the score isn’t what you necessarily want.
What do you feel like your biggest strength is?
I feel like my biggest strength would be my placement of my shots. I think that’s because I’m able to move a player around, which I think definitely benefits the consistency I have. Like hitting it cross court or hitting it down the line or drop shot or hitting it deep. Having that variety in where you’re hitting the ball I think definitely helps your overall game and helps you win.
Is there an area where you could improve?
Definitely my game at the net, especially for singles, going into the net more. Sometimes if a player hits a ball short, I kind of gravitate towards moving back. I feel like I need to work on going to the net and putting it away there.
Given that tennis is an individual sport, how is it different playing for your team at Latrobe versus playing in youth tournaments?
I think, honestly, it’s a bit more stressful because in the (United States Tennis Association) tournaments that I’ve done, you play for yourself. I think the overall game is the same. It is more stressful that you have a team to win for. But it’s also nice that you can rely on your teammates and that you have others that are helping you to try to reach that goal. It’s still a pretty individual sport.
What is one thing that people may not know about you?
Not many people know that I’m kind of double-jointed. I’m really flexible and I can do weird tricks.
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