Angela Giampolo Uses Experience to Lead Softball


Courtesy of Villanova Athletics

Throughout her career, Angela Giampolo is a three-time All-Big East member.

Aphrodite Dimopoulos, Staff Writer

Angela Giampolo went to her first college softball game in the seventh grade. She had a friend who played softball for Louisville and, as a New Jersey native, a game against Villanova was the perfect opportunity to watch her play. As they were sitting in the bleachers, Giampolo’s father leaned over and mentioned what a beautiful school it was and how he could see how cool it would be to play there. The two went home and didn’t think about the interaction for a while, or at least until Giampolo’s sophomore year of high school.

It was that year that the star Notre Dame High School player led her team to a Mercer County title and began getting recognized by Division I coaches. When then-Villanova head coach Maria DiBernardi reached out to Giampolo, she was transported back to those bleachers, and her Villanova journey began. 

Fast forward two years, and Giampolo was officially on the Wildcat roster. Giampolo played in 51 games her freshman year, starting 49 of them, which is unheard of for a collegiate debut season. In her freshman campaign, Giampolo batted .315 with a .378 on-base percentage and a .417 slugging percentage. She ranked second on the team with 32 runs scored and put together a season-high eight-game hitting streak. Not only was Giampolo in games as a freshman — she was winning them.

Reflecting back to her start in 2018, Giampolo credits the coaching staff for starting on the right foot. 

“Obviously, I worked hard,” Giampolpo said. “But [Coach Maria] allowing me to do that helped me become the player and person I am today. I really give her all the credit for that.”

 After a retirement-induced coaching change, Giampolo entered sophomore year hungry and wanting to accomplish more. And that she did. The second baseman earned second team all-Big East and second team all-ECAC honors after being one of just three players on the squad to start in all 53 games. Beyond playing every game at second, Giampolo played 52 of her 53 games as a leadoff batter and took on the responsibility of setting an example for the new players and even the new coaches. 

“[Batting leadoff] is just like setting the tone for the day ahead with a good attitude, along with setting a good precedent for people behind you,” Giampolo said. “That’s something I learned on the softball field that I’m going to take way beyond Villanova.”

In her junior year, 2020, Giampolo and her teammates faced challenges no one could have predicted. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team’s season got cut in half and, just when the whole team was hitting a groove, it was stopped in its tracks and sent home. Giampolo still thinks about that year and how tough it was to face. 

“We came that year guns blazing,” she said. “We were in the two top teams, and it was so disappointing to get our season cut short when we had so much potential.”

Overcoming that adversity and her teammates following suit led to a historic next season for Villanova softball. Giampolo earned second team all-Big East honors and was named to the All-Tournament Team at the Big East Championship as the Wildcats won their first conference title and advanced to an NCAA regional for the first time in program history. Giampolo was one of four players on the team who started all 52 games that year and officially cemented her name on the list of Villanova softball’s best players of all-time.

“It was an incredible experience and it’s not something I, or anyone else, could have done alone,” Giampolo said. “Those last few games, we worked so hard as a team, and it’s something that we really deserved. My sophomore year, we lost in the championship game, and it was heartbreaking. Ever since then, we went into every game wanting to win. We knew what we wanted to achieve, and we achieved it.”

This season is Giampolo’s last as a Wildcat. Adversity continued to follow her as she endured a broken wrist injury that put her on the bench for three and a half weeks. Rather than falling victim to her injury, Giampolo used this moment of weakness to fuel her just as she had in the past. 

Now that she is healthy and back in her rightful spot at second base, Giampolo is ready to finish her Villanova career strong. The team is getting better each game, and its shot at another Big East title is certainly within reach. As a primary leader and a fifth year player, Giampolo recognizes that it is time for her to give back to the underclassmen.

When asked what her one piece of advice would be to an incoming player, Giampolo threw the technicalities of the sport out the window. 

“I would definitely say just really enjoy every single moment and have fun,” she explained. “I feel like as student athletes in college, you put so much pressure on yourself in the classroom and on the field that you lose sight of the fun and joy that the game brought you. Your time is so limited, and it really flies by, so just loving each game, including your bad ones, your best and your worst, enjoy it.”