Cianciola sisters win state tennis title

By Brian Dzenis

Canfield’s Hannah Cianciola just wanted to get the second day of the state tennis tournament. With that goal already met on Friday, the expectations were gone.

“When we made to the second day, we could just play. There was nothing to lose,” she said. “It’s my senior year, I’m playing with my sister. We can just go out and play like we know how to play.”

The senior had gone through the past three years of being eliminated on the first day in the Division I state tournament. This year with younger sister Sydney in tow, the pair broke that barrier.

There was nothing left to do except win a state title, which the sisters did. They defeated another set of sisters, Green’s Maria and Anne Zivick, 6-4, 6-3 at the Lindner Family Tennis Center in Mason.

“This morning when we won the semifinals, I was so confident. It was so surreal and I was ready to go for the finals and I knew we could do it,” Hannah said. “When we won that match point ... it still hasn’t set in yet that we won.”

All but one of their matches were won in straight sets. The diciest of the bunch turned out to be the one to get to day to of play. The sisters needed a tiebreaker on Friday to get by Cincinnati Ursuline Academy’s Ellie Foster and Gabriella O’Connor 6-1, 7-6 (8-6).

“It was nerves in that second set knowing that we could get to the second set,” Hannah said. “We started to play safe when we should have been more aggressive.”

It was the first year the two had been paired up. Sydney, a sophomore, was happy to help her sister go out on a high note.

“It was really exciting, especially because it was my first year and it was good that we finished strong,” Sydney said.

Sydney spent her freshman season getting what Hannah her coach, Rob Stephens, refer to as “seasoning.”

“She’s definitely strong and stepped up to the plate in the tough points and knew how to win. She knew how to deal with the pressure,” Hannah said. “Syd’s already young for her grade, she needed that year of playing high school tennis. She obviously stepped up to the plate and that one year of seasoning really helped her.”

In the semifinals, the Cianciolas bested North Canton Hoover’s Hallie Hunt and Alessa Koinoglou 6-3, 6-1 before beating the Zivicks in the final. Just like Hannah, Anne and Maria Zivick were eliminated on day one of last year’s tournament.

Hannah said she wants to play college tennis, but has not decided on a school. She got a lot more out of the state tournament than she initially wanted.

“We pumped each other up. We were ready to win, we knew we could do it, we believed in ourselves,” Hannah said. “That’s what got us there.”