Athlete of the Issue: Ava Tortorello

Eli Aronson At the age of nine, Freshman Ava Tortorello joined her first club volleyball team.  Before she started on her first club team, she had wanted to play competitive volleyball since before she could remember. She played with her mom in the backyard, practicing setting and bumping long before she played on an official  team, Wildcat Juniors.  Her mom, Latin’s current Assistant Athletic Director, along with her aunt, played collegiate volleyball at major division one colleges.  She would watch old highlights that her grandpa had on video of her mom and her aunt from their days of playing. Ava’s mom coached varsity girls volleyball at Latin, where Ava could easily come to watch the games. Volleyball was ingrained in her life from the very beginning. Six years later, Ava is a freshman playing varsity volleyball, making a legacy of her own.  She wants to be a vital part of the Latin program for all four of her upper school years.  She is a setter, allowing her to set up her teammates perfectly for offensive hits, something she loves to do.  The setter is considered by some to be one of the most important positions on the court. Being a setter takes a lot of responsibility, especially as a freshman, but for Ava, on the court, she felt “absolutely none.”  In fact, she thinks being a setter made it easier for her to adapt to a varsity team, because of the respect that comes along with it.  A fellow teammate of Ava’s at Latin said she brings “a certain level of energy and intensity not a lot of athletes have.”  Playing varsity was a great way for Ava to bond with upperclassmen and build her own legacy at Latin. Volleyball consumes a lot of Ava’s free time. In addition to being a Roman, she plays on an extreme travel volleyball team, facing some of the best competition in the country.  Her favorite memory from playing on her club team this past year was taking the number one team in the country to three sets. “It was a great challenge and the intensity of the game was special”.  She thinks “the best way to improve is to play against the best,” which is another reason why she loves playing on her club team.  This mentality is shown through her energy, on and off the court. Just like almost any other athlete, Ava has her go-to pregame routine. Nutrigrain bars are her easy way of getting  her energy levels up before the game. Another important part of her routine is her pre game music playlist, featuring Big Sean and Rihanna.  But once she is on the court, Ava means business.  Whether she is training or it’s game time, Ava believes that the keys to success in volleyball are “teamwork, communication, and hard work.”  Ava sets high standards for herself with anything she does, but her goal in volleyball is to play in college, and then see where that takes her.  With her ambition and her attitude, anything is achievable. In the upcoming playoffs and the years to come,  keep your eyes out for Ava Tortorello.]]>