Student-Athlete Profile: Senior Ella Sinciline

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Taking up the sport of tennis was a natural fit for North Allegheny senior Ella Sinciline. The daughter of a Division I tennis athlete, Sinciline began playing tennis when she was nine-years old. Her mother, Michelle Daigle-Latta, was a team captain at the University of Maryland and played from 1989-1993.

“She’s had a really big influence on me,” said Sinciline about her Mother. “She was a great player and has always wanted to be a second coach for me and pushed me a little bit harder than anyone else. That drive to be as good as you can be has trickled over into other areas of my life. She instilled a drive that I otherwise wouldn’t have.”

That determination and tenacity helped Sinciline become the United States Tennis Association’s No. 1-ranked player in the Western Pennsylvania region at age 13. By the time she reached high school, North Allegheny was in the midst of a lengthy run of WPIAL and PIAA titles.

In 2017, North Allegheny won it’s fifth straight WPIAL championship and fourth PIAA crown in five seasons. Then a sophomore, Sinciline was a member of the varsity squad but didn’t play an active role during the title run.

As a junior, however, Sinciline ascended to North Allegheny’s No. 2 singles position and was a prominent participant in the Tigers’ sixth straight WPIAL championship.

North Allegheny senior Ella Sinciline.

“That (championship) was more meaningful than anything else. The drive that I had the summer going into my junior year was more than I ever had. I was going to do anything in my power to be the best tennis player I could be for my team.”

Following North Allegheny’s 3-2 win over Shady Side Academy in the 2018 WPIAL finals, the Tigers’ bid for another PIAA crown fell just short with a 3-1 loss to Conestoga in the PIAA semifinals.

Already a linchpin in the NA lineup, Sinciline’s role expanded exponentially when she was named a team captain entering her senior season in 2019.

“My perspective of being a captain was being very guiding and teaching. Our team was very young this year and there was a lot of freshmen players. I felt the need to show everyone the way and help teach them what being a teammate is all about.”

Sinciline was a tremendous leader off the court as well, hosting team bonding events and even going as far as driving her teammates to practice.

“Yes, I was the Uber driver,” said Sinciline jokingly. “I would pick anyone up at any given time to go to practice or I would also take large groups of us to practice. It was really fun and we had a good time in the car together.”

Sinciline’s selfless and exemplary effort as team captain helped the Tigers to another fine season. North Allegheny won a section title with a perfect 8-0 record and reached the WPIAL semifinals before eventually bowing out in the postseason.

Ella Sinciline and Nora Catanzarite won the Section 2-AAA doubles championship.

Exhibiting North Allegheny’s dominance in the section, both Sinciline and freshman teammate Nora Catanzarite reached the finals in the Section 2-AAA singles tournament. Sinciline finished as the runner-up to Catanzarite but posted a big win in the semifinal round over top-seeded Isabella Gaydosh of Mars, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the section championship. The victory over Gaydosh is one of Sinciline’s most memorable.

“Earlier in the year I had lost to Mars’ number two player. To beat (Gaydosh) in the semifinals felt really good.”

At the Section 2-AAA doubles tournament, Sinciline and Catanzarite joined forces and rolled through the competition. In the section championship, the NA duo defeated Kira Ley and Ella Patton of Moon, 6-0, 6-1, to claim section gold.

After graduation, Sinciline will attend the University of Connecticut where she’ll pursue a double major in Psychology and English. She is planning on continuing her tennis career at the club level at UCONN.