On today’s episode of the Lax Goalie Ray Podcast, I’m joined by the recent Queen’s University of Charlotte women’s lacrosse transfer Giuliana Portolesi.
Giuliana is transferring to Queen’s after wrapping up a successful JUCO lacrosse career with the powerhouse Onondaga Community College program.
While at OCC Giuliana was a 2x National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Runner-up, a 2x Mid-State Athletic Conference (MSAC) Champion, and an NJCAA All-American in 2023 while also being named a 2x NJCAA All-Tournament Team and a 2x MSAC All-Tournament Team.
In her final season at OCC, Giuliana led the NJCAA in save percentage, total saves, goals-against average, and total goals allowed.
She was also awarded the Robert H. Edson Scholarship Recipient in 2022-23. This award is given to a student who exemplifies a commitment to academic success, leadership, community service, and integrity.
Giuliana started playing lacrosse in high school in Sacramento. During open practice in the fall, she decided to jump in the cage after getting called for too many shooting space fouls as a defender. She put on the gear and hasn’t looked back.
Her coach in high school had a background in coaching goalies, which helped her develop as a goaltender early on in her career.
Giuliana moved to Washington during her junior year of high school she began watching Lax Goalie Rat videos, podcast to the podcast, and watching save breakdowns to help her learn the position on her own.
After high school, Giuliana made the jump to the NAIA at Midland University. While she enjoyed her time there, Giuliana wanted a more competitive lacrosse opportunity and chose to go the JUCO route.
JUCO, or Junior College, is a two-year post-secondary school whose main purpose is to provide academic, vocational, and professional education. JUCO can be a great option for student-athletes for several reasons including affordability and more playing time as a freshman. We dive deep into JUCO and talk about why this might be a great option for goalies to consider when picking where they would like to go to college.
OCC really drew her interest as they’re a renowned JUCO Program in the country. She knew if she wanted to learn lacrosse there was no better place than where the game began in Onondaga and upstate New York.
Giuliana is now transferring to Queen’s University after her time at OCC. After sending hundreds of emails to coaches with the hopes of landing an offer, she initially set her sights on joining one of the premier programs in the country but after realizing that those programs might not be the best fit for her, she began opening herself up to other opportunities which started to open her up to many different offers.
Giuliana is also a member of the Italian National Women’s Lacrosse team. She wasn’t able to play in the world championships due to an injury but traveled with the team and is still training with the team today.
I hope you enjoy this episode with Giuliana where we discuss topics like life as a JUCO athlete, dealing with the nerves of the transfer portal, and playing with confidence.
Lacrosse is my passion! The game has given me so much and this blog is my way of giving back to the lax community. Specifically the most bad a$$ part of that community - the goalies! After learning to play goalie from scratch, I wanted to create a site where I could share what I learned with others so they too can become champions in the crease and in life. Learn more about Coach Damon.
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