CUA Field Hockey, led by Gia Fenoglio Cillizza in her 14th year as head coach, has enjoyed tremendous success over the last five years -- the most accomplished period in the program’s 46-year history.
In each of those five years, the Cardinals have been nationally ranked – including several times in the top 10. CUA has also played a difficult schedule that, in 2014, boasted six teams ranked in the top 20, besting the No. 1, No. 6, No. 15 and No. 19 teams in the nation. During this time, the program has produced nine All-Americans, 16 All-Region players and 29 All-Landmark honorees including three Landmark Players of the Year and two Landmark Rookies of the Year. Seven seniors were chosen to play in the NFHCA Senior Game.
Cillizza and her staff have been honored with the Coaching Staff of the Year award in the conference three out of the last four years – and five times since the conference began in 2007. She also received the honor in the Capital Athletic Conference in 2006, CUA's final season in the CAC before joining the Landmark. Cillizza (163-90) became the winningest coach in program history in 2006 and passed the 100-win milestone in 2010.
Off the field during this period, the field hockey team continued to excel academically, receiving its fifth straight NFHCA Division III National Academic Team award with a team GPA of 3.0 or higher in the 2014 fall semester. Seventeen student athletes made the NFHCA National Academic Squad with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher through the first semester of 2014-15.
The team also continued its service to others volunteering annually at the Armed Forces Retirement Home and MLK Day of Service as well as with D.C. Special Olympics and Relay for Life.
During Cillizza’s time on the sidelines, she has coached 13 of the program’s 14 All-Americans as well as 27 All-Region selections, 65 All-Conference selections, three Conference Players of the Year, four Conference Rookies of the Year, two Conference Defensive Players of the Year and 12 NFHCA All-Star Game participants. She has also coached several CUA Athletics Department award winners including Maura Campbell, Meg Comunale, Mary Swarthout, Andrea Baick, Ro Dixon and Erin Swift (Donley Cup); Tracey Scanlon, Michele Repass, Jayme Dinsmore and Stephanie Roselle (Outstanding Senior Athlete) and Carley Walko, Kelly Burke and Kathleen Langan (Jone Dowd Role Model) as well as Megan Payne, who received the President’s Medal in 2007.
Cillizza’s tenure includes four NCAA Tournament appearances (2011-14), six ECAC post-season tournament appearances (champion in 2010, runner up in 2008, semifinalist in 2005, 2006, 2009), six regular season titles (2006-08, 2011, 2012, 2014) and nine conference championship games (2005-08, 2010-14).
Cillizza began her career as head coach in 2002 after serving for three years as an assistant at CUA under Miami University (Ohio) college teammate Lisa DeStefano Thompson. In 2004, after a two-year stint as a part-time head coach, Cillizza left her career in publishing where she was an assistant production editor, reporter, and later marketing manager for National Journal Group (now Atlantic Media) to follow her passion -- full-time coaching.
Cillizza has coached at U.S. Field Hockey's National Futures Championship, served as a site director, selector and coach in the U.S. Field Hockey Futures development program, directed Revolution Field Hockey camp at CUA, and coached camps with the University of Maryland, Nike, Gateway Field Hockey, Cecil County Field Hockey and Archbishop Spalding High School. She has also served on various National Field Hockey Coaches Association, NCAA, conference and University committees.
From 2006-10 Cillizza served as associate athletic director and senior woman administrator at CUA. In this role she oversaw seven varsity programs, directed the department's major events and programs, mentored coaches and handled special projects and committees. She has completed coursework toward a master's degree in psychology at CUA.
Cillizza is a 1998 graduate of Division I Miami University in Ohio where she was a four-year letter winner and three-year starter at midfield and defense. She was elected co-captain of her team in her junior and senior years. Cillizza earned a bachelor's degree in English literature and journalism and was a reporter and editor for the university's newspaper.
A St. Louis, Mo., native, Cillizza was co-captain of the Visitation Academy 1993 Midwest Championship team, which finished an unblemished 21-0, and was named first team all-conference her junior and senior years. During high school she participated in the U.S. Futures program and played on all-star teams at the National Field Hockey Festival. Her background includes high school and club softball and soccer as well as musical theater and dance.
Cillizza, her husband, Chris, and two sons live in Falls Church, Va.