Massa is Stockton’s ‘Woman of the Year’

Moorestown High School grad Alexa Massa recognized for her achievement in athletics at Stockton University.

When Alexa Massa received a letter from the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women congratulating her on being selected as Stockton University’s Woman of the Year, she said she was in a state of total awe. Massa said she didn’t know she was even in consideration for the award.

“Each year, NJAIAW hosts the Woman of the Year Luncheon in celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day. This special event recognizes the outstanding achievements of our female athletes,” the letter, signed by NJAIAW co-presidents Tara Rienecker and Kim DeRitter, reads.

On Sunday, Feb. 4, Massa was to attend the Woman of the Year ceremony at Seton Hall University. For the 2014 graduate of Moorestown High School, sports have been a life-long passion, and she said the award is a testament that she is on the right path.

Massa moved from Magnolia to Moorestown when she was in third grade. Growing up, her two older sisters were actively involved in sports, and so Massa followed suit. Since the age of 7, Massa has played softball, and she played roller hockey for six years before transitioning into field hockey.

At MHS, Massa played varsity softball and varsity field hockey all four years. She said the field hockey program at MHS was especially competitive during her time at school.

“That was an awesome experience to get to play at that level in high school,” Massa said. “There were some obstacles that I had to get through playing varsity as a freshman. Those obstacles are what pushed me to be where I am in college.”

Four years playing two sports taught Massa that her family were her biggest supporters. She said her family was always in attendance at games, which ultimately shaped her decision to stay local for college because she wanted that support system nearby.

Her senior year at MHS, Massa committed to playing field hockey for Shippensburg University. However, over the summer, Massa realized she wanted to stay in-state and applied to Stockton. She said it was the best decision she’s ever made.

Massa, a senior, has continued to play both softball and field hockey all four years of her college career. In 2017, she had the second-best offensive season in the field hockey program’s history with 17 goals, four assists, 42 points and four game-winning goals. Massa also serves as captain of Stockton’s softball team and is eight hits away from reaching 100 career hits.

As for which sport is her favorite, Massa joked that when it’s field hockey season, softball is her favorite sport, and when it’s softball season, field hockey is her favorite sport.

Massa is a psychology major with a concentration in elementary education. Her goal is to get her master’s degree in special education. She said watching her nephew who has autism grow up shaped her decision to get involved in special education.

Massa knew she wanted to connect with those with special needs, and for that reason, she started volunteering for the Special Olympics: Unified Sports program.

She said she never thought of herself as a leader until she received word of the award in December. She said knowing her peers and coaches recognized her as leader makes her feel like she’s making a difference on her teams. She said this knowledge makes her more confident in her decision to become a teacher where she also hopes to make an impact.

Massa said she envisions herself becoming a coach at the high school or college level. She said sports have been part of her life for so long, she doesn’t anticipate giving them up anytime soon.