Julia Sangiacomo made a verbal commitment as a sophomore to attend Santa Clara University and play volleyball for the Broncos.
On Thursday, Sangiacomo made it official, signing a national letter-of-intent during the noon hour at Justin-Siena High School’s Gasser Center. Sangiacomo, the Player of the Year on the Napa Valley Register’s All-Napa County teams as a sophomore and junior, will receive an athletic scholarship and plans to major in biology.
“I’ve looked forward to this for a long time. It’s super exciting,” Sangiacomo, a 6-foot-4 senior outside hitter and team captain for Justin-Siena, said after the signing ceremony, where she was joined by her parents, Mike and Whitney Sangiacomo, both 1991 Santa Clara graduates.
“I’m super excited to go in and play with all the girls there and play at such a high level and just continue to play the sport that I love. I want to go in and have a great career and have the team just do super well.
“I just love the school. It’s a great school academically and for volleyball.”
Sangiacomo has been a standout during her four years, all as a starter, at Justin-Siena.
Justin-Siena (19-6 overall) won the Vine Valley Athletic League title this year. The VVAL is a first-year league in the CIF North Coast Section. The Braves went 2-1 in the NCS Division 4 playoffs, beating both Del Norte-Crescent City, 3-0, and University-San Francisco, 3-1, and losing in the semifinals to Branson-Ross, 3-2.
The season ended for the Braves with their loss to Nevada Union-Grass Valley in the first round of the CIF Northern California-State Division III Championships, 3-0.
“I’m so proud of our team,” said Sangiacomo, 17. “We put up a good fight this year. The coaches are great.
“It’s been so much fun. It’s such a great school. I’ve played with some great people over the years.”
Sangiacomo is one of the top volleyball players in Justin-Siena school history.
She had 22 kills, 11 digs and two blocks in the match against Nevada Union.
She had 41 kills, four blocks and 17 digs in the match against Branson.
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Against University, she had 28 kills, 10 digs, three blocks and a service ace.
She had 23 kills, five digs, three service aces and two blocks in the match against Del Norte.
In their 3-0 VVAL title-clinching victory over Petaluma, the Braves were led by Sangiacomo’s 30 kills, eight digs, four blocks and four service aces.
Sangiacomo has played all the way around for the Braves – in the front row as a hitter and blocker, in the back row for defense.
“She’s incredibly competitive and driven,” said Justin-Siena coach Chelsea Reilley, who played volleyball at Santa Clara as an outside hitter and defensive specialist and in high school for Archbishop Mitty-San Jose as an outside hitter. “She’ll do anything to make herself better and her team better. She is incredibly gifted and is dominant at the net. With her height and with just her physical abilities, she’s a hard hitter to stop.”
Reilley is expecting Sangiacomo to make an immediate impact on the Santa Clara team. The Broncos play in the West Coast Conference.
“I see big things for her at Santa Clara. She’s just going to get better because she’s a student of the game,” said Reilley. “She loves the strategy. She wants to learn and just soak up everything she can to make herself better. She’s got the physical abilities. It’s hard for other hitters to get around her. I think she has all the right skills and tools to make it.”
Sangiacomo plays club volleyball for Absolute Volleyball Club, an organization in Marin County.
As a junior, she had 422 kills, 181 digs, 44 service aces and 39 blocks. She averaged 5.2 kills per game.
As a sophomore, she had 323 kills and was named to the CBS MaxPreps.com California All-State 2016 Volleyball Team. Sangiacomo was selected to the All-State Division 3 team. She averaged 3.6 kills and 1.7 digs per game.
Many members of her family have attended Santa Clara over the years, Sangiacomo said. Her dad, Mike, graduated from Justin-Siena in 1987 and played tight end on the football team for the Broncos. Mike also played rugby.
Julia’s great grandfather, Hector Giuntini, played football and baseball at Santa Clara and graduated in 1930. Her great grandfather, Bill Royer, played baseball at Santa Clara and graduated in 1942.
“We’re very proud of her,” said Mike Sangiacomo. “She had to find a school that was the best fit. It worked out to be Santa Clara. That was her decision and she came to that on her own.”