Westmoreland County Senior Spotlight: Penn-Trafford’s Ella Dindak

Monday, October 30, 2023 | 12:07 PM

Coming into the year, expectations were high for a Penn-Trafford girls volleyball team that lost in the Class 4A semifinals last year.

Nine of the 12 players for the Warriors were seniors, making experience and chemistry a clear advantage for them.

Senior Ella Dindak provided some insight into why that gives them such a leg up.

“I think a lot of us, we don’t really let nerves get to us. We don’t really let things get in our head,” Dindak said. “Even if the game seems to be going one way that might not favor us, we can pull ourselves together because of our experience.”

Penn-Trafford delivered with a perfect 8-0 section record and a section title for the second consecutive season.

Dindak attributed part of the success to the mindset and drive of the team.

“The section games, we really made sure to go into every game thinking about wanting to win the section,” Dindak said. “The other games we played outside the section, we played some really good teams, which helped us stay at a good level for our section matches.”

This year, Class 4A has some stiff competition, including North Allegheny, Seneca Valley and Canon-­McMillan, the top three seeds, and defending champ Pine-Richland, seeded fourth, just to name a few. Penn-Trafford came in as the sixth seed.

“We’re definitely going to have to play some really good teams,” Dindak said. “We just have to be prepared to play a good team, regardless of who it actually is.”

Dindak was recognized as a Class 4A player of the week recently, an honor that she doesn’t take lightly.

“I feel like I’ve been putting in a lot of work this year, and I’ve been trying to give my best effort every game,” Dindak said. “There’s so many good players in the WPIAL and our section and Class 4A, so to be recognized out of everyone, I was really grateful and really honored.”

She currently has no plans for after high school, and she’s unsure of whether she’s going to play volleyball in college.

With the season’s end nearing, Dindak took some time for a Senior Spotlight Q&A:

How did you get started with volleyball?

I started playing in seventh grade whenever (Penn-Trafford) started to offer it. I used to play soccer, and I was kind of getting bored of that. I just wanted to try something new.

What are your expectations for the playoffs?

I really want our team to do well this year in the playoffs. Last year, we got to the semifinals. The thought of making it to the finals just makes me so excited, and I really think that this year we have a good chance. So I hope that we can stay focused and achieve that goal.

What’s coach Jim Schall’s philosophy, and why is it so successful?

Their family eats, sleeps and breathes volleyball. I think that really has a good effect on us because every day in practice, we want to keep the competition high, so that we’re practicing how we want to play a game. We do that so that in game situations, we’re not surprised by anything the other team does. I think that we want to keep the competition really good in practice and stay focused and have fun with each other but also be focused on winning the game.

What is your favorite memory from high school volleyball?

My favorite memory was definitely playing Canon-Mac last year, because it was the quarterfinals, a playoff match, at home. It went to five sets, and it was so close. I really feel like both our team and Canon-Mac were playing at our highest level. It was so fun to play in. Then going to five sets and being able to win and go to the semifinals was so exciting. It was just so much fun.

What is one thing that people may not know about you?

I was born in Pennsylvania, but I lived in Naples, Fla., for seven years. I started kindergarten there and then I moved back to Pennsylvania in seventh grade, which is when I started volleyball.


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