Q&A with Giannina Cipolloni

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM

VIRGINIASPORTSDOTCOM
Freshman Giannina Cipolloni and the Virginia softball team return to Atlantic Coast Conference play this weekend at home against Maryland. The Cavaliers and Terrapins will compete in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday before concluding the series at 1 p.m. Sunday. Cipolloni recently sat down with VirginiaSports.com to talk about her transition to college, what she likes to do for fun, and why she likes playing center field.

Question: How would you describe your first year of playing college softball thus far?
Cipolloni:
It’s exciting because it’s so different from being home and being in a routine. You’re definitely in a routine here too but your own your own now, so it’s exciting.

Question: How has the transition been from high school to college?
Cipolloni:
Not bad actually. I transitioned pretty well and didn’t get homesick at all. Part of that is because my parents come down (to Charlottesville) a lot. The schoolwork is what I expected and softball was actually a little harder than I expected.

Question: What has been the most challenging part of this year for you?
Cipolloni:
Not procrastinating on my schoolwork. In high school I could go study for a test the period before and you can’t do that anymore. You have to prepare a week in advance if you want to get a good grade. Softball-wise, I would have to say the conditioning. I am not going to lie, it is not my favorite. The lifting in the fall I didn’t mind because I liked increasing my weights. Now that I am at my max, it’s not fun anymore, it’s heavy!

Question: What has been your progression as a slapper?
Cipolloni:
I started slapping the summer after my sophomore year because I couldn’t hit from the right side when I went to 18-and-under. I went 0-for-25 in the fall and my coach told me that I need to be on base, so you’re going to try slapping. I don’t care how I am hitting as long as I get on. So it worked out pretty well. Junior year I started working on power hitting, so now I can bunt, slap and swing away.

Question: How did you end up at UVa?
Cipolloni:
When I took my unofficial visit it was still when (former coach) Karen Johns was here. When the new staff came in I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen. It was between UVa and another school, and I was really leaning the other way because I was familiar with their conditioning program and they had brand new dorms. When I came here on my official visit, I was comparing the wrong things. My parents sat me down and told me I needed to look at the whole picture. They were right.

Question: What are you thinking about majoring in?
Cipolloni:
I want to do kinesiology or sports medicine, something along those lines. I thought I wanted to coach but I don’t think I want that as a career maybe for fun. But it will probably be something sports-related.

Question: What do you like to do for fun?
Cipolloni:
My favorite thing to do is go to the movies but since I don’t have a car here, it’s hard to get around. I would go to the movies every weekend if I could. We went to a lot of volleyball games in the fall and a couple of the basketball games. Sometimes on road trips or just whenever we look up new dance moves and make music videos. Myself and Jen Bowles, Megan Wind and Rachel Harvey, we dance frequently. I don’t know why Clara (Kendall) doesn’t do it with us. I don’t think she can dance.

Question: Who has influenced you in life?
Cipolloni:
My parents are always on us about hard work, mom more with academics and my dad more on the softball side. My dad’s famous saying is, “you never know who’s watching.” There is no slacking ever.

Question: How did you get started playing softball?
Cipolloni:
I started playing when I was 8. Eventually both my sister and I tried pitching I couldn’t do it but she could pitch. She ended up being really good at it. But I liked softball a lot so my dad brought us to the Philly Flash for my first year of travel ball. Then my dad started his own team, the Philly Wizards, and I would have to say those are my most fun years of softball. We had a team from 10-under to 14-under. The friendships on that team, we were like a family, and we were good. It was before softball got really serious and you had to worry about recruiting and stuff like that.

Question: What do you like about playing center field?
Cipolloni:
I love on-the-run catches, balls that people think are shots, but I track them down and make it look like it’s nothing. Or throwing girls out at the plate, that gets me pretty hyped. I feel like I have good reaction time in the outfield and I can judge balls better. Another thing I like about center field, better than left or right, is that you don’t have to chase any foul balls that roll down the line. Those are a pain.

Question: What is your favorite spot on Grounds?
Cipolloni:
The Corner. I love Bodo’s. Or the Pav. They have good food too.