Since she was little, Cheshire High School’s Gigi Ranoldo has dreamed of playing college field hockey on the Division I level. Heading into her senior year, she felt that it was tough mulling multiple recruiting offers, but Ranoldo now believes that she has found the right spot to grow athletically and in the classroom.
Recently, Ranoldo chose to attend and play field hockey at Long Island University. She also considered Central Michigan University, Hofstra University (New York), Sacred Heart University, and Wagner College (New York).
“I connected with the (LIU) team right away and wanted to be part of that program. The staff remind me of my HTC (Hear The Cheers) club coaches,” said Ranoldo, who has played varsity field hockey since her freshman year at CHS. “Committing for college is a huge milestone that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. It feels so great.”
As a member of the Northeast Conference, LIU field hockey competes for Head Coach Rene Haynes. Ranoldo expects to be challenged competing in D-I.
“I need to keep getting better because I know that level expects a lot from their players,” explained Ranoldo.
In college, she would prefer to play in the mid-field.
“As a freshman, I’d like to play in as many games as possible and make an impact on the team,” Ranoldo said.
She began playing field hockey in fifth grade. Since she couldn’t find a program in Cheshire, Ranoldo went to Burlington to participate in a town league.
She picked up lacrosse at the same time, but found that field hockey fit her better.
“There are so many moves you can do in field hockey,” explained Ranoldo. “No matter how good you get, there are always things that you can keep learning.”
In seventh grade, Ranoldo joined the HTC program and has played there ever since on the club level.
“It has helped me so much,” reflected Ranoldo. “I need to thank their coaches for believing in me. There were times when I started doubting my ability, but the coaches reassured me that I’m good enough to play on a high level.”
She loves playing with and against girls from different high schools.
“We joke on the field and talk after the games,” stated Ranoldo.
She has also enjoyed having the opportunity to play top competition, including traveling to Virginia to compete nationally.
“The level of play is insane at Nationals. There are so many players going to D-I schools,” said Ranoldo. “While competing there, I realized that I was good enough to play on the highest level because I could keep up with them (the players).”
At CHS, Ranoldo has helped the Rams make the post-season in each of her first three seasons. As a freshman, she was excited to make the varsity team.
“It was definitely a goal for me,” said Ranoldo. “I remember that all of the girls were super-nice and welcoming.”
In her sophomore year, Ranoldo posted the biggest offensive game of her career, tallying a career-high three goals and two assists in a 7-0 shutout of Sheehan.
“I felt that was a breakout game for me,” recalled Ranoldo. “I thought that I showed all of my skill there and gave it my all.”
She helped the 2020 Rams post an unbeaten regular season. CHS took a 11-0 mark into the SCC Division A final, but fell 5-1 to Guilford.
When Cheshire Head Coach Eileen Wildermann stepped down last year, Ranoldo adjusted to playing for Kya O’Donnell.
“I learn something from every coach I play for,” stated Ranoldo.
In the first season under O’Donnell, Cheshire went 16-4-1 last year. The Rams reached the SCC final where they lost 3-0 to Guilford.
“It was great getting to play in the (title) game, but it was tough losing,” reflected Ranoldo.
CHS ended last season with a 1-0 loss to Glastonbury in the Class L quarterfinals.
This year, Ranoldo was announced as a senior co-captain with Cate Palma. With the Rams having graduated 13 players, she wants to be a leader for younger girls in the program.
“I’m so excited to be a captain with Cat,” stated Ranoldo. “I think we balance each other out really well and I look forward to being a resource for the team and the underclassmen.”
Ranoldo likes how teammates are working out in camps, as well as playing for club programs like HTC.
“All of the off-season work is already paying off and the season hasn’t started yet,” said Ranoldo. “I think that (chemistry) is why we play so well together.”
She is excited to play one more season with her senior teammates.
“I think we have a great group of girls. I think we’ll do really well together,” said Ranoldo. “We have a lot of great seniors on the team.”
Ranoldo wants to end her CHS career on a high note.
“I feel like the seasons have flown by,” stated Ranoldo. “I look forward to this last year.”
She said that Cheshire’s number one goal is to win the SCC title. CHS field hockey last held the crown in 2013.