Senior Giannina Cipolloni is one of five members of the 2012 senior class who will be recognized this weekend when the Cavaliers play host to NC State in the final ACC series. The two teams play a doubleheader at 12 p.m. Saturday and conclude the series at 12 p.m. Sunday. The seniors will be honored following the second game on Saturday, where free t-shirts, tailgate and the third set of UVa trading cards will be given out. Cipolloni, a Philadelphia native, recently caught up with VirginiaSports.com to talk about the season, her expectations for senior day, advice she gives to future players and what she likes to do for fun.
Question: What do you think this weekend will mean to you, being recognized as a member of the senior class?
Cipolloni: It hasn't really hit me yet. It seems like just yesterday we were having senior days for (former players) Casey (Steffan), (Sarah) Tacke and Nicole (Koren). It doesn't really feel like I am leaving. I am excitied for it and I know we are going to have a great celebration. It just doesn't feel like it's happening. I told everybody that I don't want any gifts, I just want three wins.
Question: As part of Coach Schmidt's first recruiting class, what has it been like to have a hand in building this program?
Cipolloni: As a class, it is only myself and Coatesy (Stephanie Coates) left from when we entered as first years. It has definitely been up and down. My first year there wasn't any expectations; you just went along with the flow. My second year, we set the bar high. We set the standard for the years to come. Last year, we knew what we had to do, but we didn't have everyone on board. This year, we have had the opportunities. Things haven't fallen our way, and we just need to do the best we can from here on out and push to the end. We have talked about how we need to play for each other.
Question: What advice would you give to future players of this program?
Cipolloni: Every year is different. You can't base the next three seasons on how your first year went. Everything you go through is what you make it. You can always work harder; there is always more to get done, on and off the field.
Question: You will leave Virginia with both the single season and career stolen bases record. What do those accomplishments mean to you?
Cipolloni: I honestly didn't even know about the records and where I was until after I broke them. But it is pretty exciting to leave my name here on something. I would like to extend it and try to make it harder to be broken. Anyone who comes in and has a good on-base percentage that is pretty fast might be able to make a run at it.
Question: What has it been like to continue playing with your sister, Erica, for these last two seasons?
Cipolloni: It's nothing different. We have been playing together since we were about eight and six years old. She has always played up on my teams; we played in high school together, we played travel ball together. That also hasn't hit me - the fact that we won't be playing together anymore. These are the last couple times we are going to be on the same field together.
Question: You are graduating in May with a degree in psychology. Why did you pick that major?
Cipolloni: When I first came in, I wanted to do kinesiology, but it wasn't really for me. I took psych 101 and it was really interesting to me. After I took a few more classes I knew it was what I was going to major in. It's something I am constantly learning.
Question: What are your future plans?
Cipolloni: Next year I plan on being the volunteer coach at Temple while studying for my GRE. I would like to get into their grad school program for sports psychology, then spend the next few years at Temple as a graduate assistant coach. From there, we'll see. I think getting a master's in sports psychology is going to help me down the road in coaching. I know I am going to be coaching in my future; I just don't know what level.
Question: What do you love about the game of softball?
Cipolloni: It's funny because Yo (Coach Yolanda McRae) said this the other day just to remind us - it's fun. This year I have really enjoyed going out to practice everyday. It is the best part of the day and for me; it is my escape. When I am playing softball, I am not thinking about anything else.
Question: What do you like to do in your spare time?
Cipolloni: I am usually hitting off Hank. Hank is our pitching machine and he is my best friend. Alexa (Martinez) and I have been spending a lot of time with him. I put my iPod in and go hit; it is like therapy. When I am not doing that, I go to the movies. I love going on cinematic adventures. I love smelling the popcorn and just relaxing. I have seen the Hunger Games twice and we are planning to go see The Lucky One, which comes out this weekend.