Gianna Danese, a rising senior at Mater Dei, is Ivy League bound. A relative lacrosse newbie as a freshman, Danese was named team captain as a junior and is is now committed to study and play Division 1 Women’s Lacrosse at Columbia University.
“Gia came to Mater Dei as a soccer player who’d picked up a stick maybe a handful of times before trying Lacrosse at MD,” Mater Dei coach Cressita Bowman explained in an email. “She immediately stood out for her speed and sheer athleticism. Because she was such an athlete, showed so much potential, and proved to be tough as nails, I went ahead and threw her into varsity games in the off season.
One of my fondest memories was having to pull her out of one of those games because I realized I had trusted her to be able to handle it so quickly, I hadn’t even finished telling her all the rules yet!
Since then, she’s continued to be a sponge and constantly improve. She started as a defender and has earned her place as a middie due to her determination to develop her stickwork in the last year. Due to her being someone who is always working hard in practice and also always smiling, her teammates voted her as a junior captain for the team last year.”
Big shout out to @giaadanesee and her recent commitment to play DI Lacrosse for @columbia_lacrosse Gianna is a stud athlete that picked up lacrosse as a freshman in HS and excelled to be a top talent in Orange County… All her hard work has paid off and everyone at AC is proud of her accomplishments. #trainhard #trainsmart #playfast
Danese, a.k.a. “Groundball Gia,” was third on the Monarchs in goals last season with 42 and second in groundballs with 55. She was also on the Monarchs’ championship team back in 2016 and 2017, where they won back-to-back County and Southern Section titles.
“Gia is a player of the game and is always wanting to learn and improve. She helps be an example to show others that there’s always more to learn and improve upon. She works hard and puts maximum effort in when she’s training, playing, or watching film. She’s also an example to others for her discipline. Gia’s focus and ability to discipline herself on and off the field is what has lead her to getting an offer at Columbia and what will help her continue to be successful through the rigorous demands of an Ivy school,” Bowman said.
Last season, Columbia went 6-10 overall and 3-4 in conference.