A day after playing her final lacrosse game at the University of Pennsylvania, Giulia Giordano experienced an even deeper sense of finality: she walked at commencement. Those two experiences, back-to-back, may have been overwhelming for the now Penn graduate, but it’s what happened leading up to then that defined Giordano’s experience at Penn. As a very good player on the women’s lacrosse team – she finished her career with 127 career points (79 goals and 48 assists), which ranks 10th on the program’s all-time scoring list, and just today was named first-team all-region by the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association – Giordano helped Penn rise to national prominence. In Giordano’s first three years, Penn advanced to at least the NCAA quarterfinals. And this season, despite graduating many program stalwarts, the Quakers returned to the NCAA tournament, where they lost to Duke in the first round on May 15 (a day before commencement). As we like to do with our Senior Spotlight posts, the Gazette caught up with Giordano to talk about her experiences at Penn, both at Franklin Field and away from it, and her thoughts on graduation:
On what it meant playing lacrosse for Penn: “I can’t imagine being at Penn without lacrosse. It was such a great experience. I’ll have these friends forever.”
On her decision to come to Penn: The Moorestown, N.J. native originally planned to go to college far away from home, much like her sister, Cara, who had a very good lacrosse career at Vanderbilt. But she was swayed after Penn head coach Karin Brower Corbett came to her house and later when she toured the campus. “After visiting a couple of other schools, I realized I wanted a city school. I loved there was a campus but still a city environment. That’s Penn’s big selling point.”
Time devoted to lacrosse over the past four years: In season, about six hours per day. In the offseason, about four. “It’s definitely hard because you’re constantly going back and forth to the field in the fall.”
Favorite part about college lacrosse: The traditions with the team, even when those “traditions” that are made up on the spot. Before the game against Princeton in the Ivy League Tournament, for instance, “we turned the lights off and we’re just dancing in a huge circle. It was so spontaneous.”
Best lacrosse moment at Penn: Beating Northwestern in 2008, her freshman year. At the time, Northwestern was ranked No. 1 in the nation and had not lost in 36 straight games. (Penn, though, later lost to them in the NCAA championship game.)
On playing in the NCAA tournament all four years: It was certainly exciting and rewarding, especially qualifying for NCAAs this season, a feat no one thought a depleted Penn squad could accomplish. “We were definitely disappointed we didn’t get as far as we have been but we beat some really great teams this year. I’m proud of our team. The class before us was amazing and we lost of great players. We were young this year but I feel like some of the girls really developed. I was happy to be a part of it and I can’t wait to see what they do in the next couple of years.”
On entering the Penn record books: “I didn’t even know that. That’s really awesome. I love how Penn takes its tradition so seriously. It’s an honor.”
Funniest lacrosse moment at Penn: We all knew Ali DeLuca, Penn’s All-American star who graduated last year, could play lacrosse very well. Apparently, she could also dance, as she showed before the 2010 Ivy League Tournament. “Ali put all of her Ivy League championship rings on and played the Beyoncé song Single Ladies and did the whole dance.” DeLuca’s message was that the Quakers needed a fourth Ivy championship ring – which they got.
Favorite Ivy League team to play: Princeton because of the rivalry and Dartmouth because “everyone picked them to beat us this year.” Penn, though, defeated the Big Green.
Favorite part of Penn away from Franklin Field: Being a part of the sorority Alpha Chi Omega and the Friars Senior Society both opened a lot of doors.
Favorite sport besides lacrosse: To watch, football. “My family is all huge Eagles fans.” To play, field hockey. Before coming to Penn, she was a star play for Moorestown High.
Favorite class: French. She studied the language at different levels every year.
Favorite campus eatery: Distrito
Thoughts on graduation: Losing an NCAA tournament game the day before graduating was a difficult experience, but walking in commencement beside many friends and teammates helped dull the pain. Plus, she loved Denzel Washington’s commencement speech. “Graduation was pretty amazing. The loss was sad but we didn’t mourn over it.”
Future plans: For now, she’s back in her New Jersey home, taking some time to rest and relax because “lacrosse was sort of like a job. My parents are giving me a little leeway on that.” After a few weeks though, the sociology major plans on “getting serious” about applying for jobs in marketing and sales. One more thing: “I loved the girls I live with, but I’m excited to finally be in a clean house.”