Mancini sisters make mark at Rutgers

The Rutgers field hockey team has had a tough schedule so far, and it definitely doesn’t stop soon. In their upcoming game, the No. 21 Scarlet Knights (3-3) will face off against No. 6 Princeton (3-1). These are the two sisters that will head down to Princeton for this New Jersey rivalry.

The youngest is freshman back Isabella Mancini, who made her collegiate debut against No. 24 Maine (1-4), but since then, hasn’t had much action on the field. While her stats at Rutgers have been fairly stationary, back in high school she had quite the record.

Mancini was a four-year varsity starter, 2017 First Team All-Burlington County, 2017 First Team Olympic Conference player and selected for the 2015-2016 Junior Olympics. These records only touch the surface of all that she accomplished in her high school career. Even then, her high school stats are minuscule when compared to her entire life.

“Where our rec league started. I’ve always been playing when (junior midfielder) Gianna (Mancini) started. I technically started in first grade just hitting around, little things. She has always been the biggest role model for me because she’s just right there doing everything, and I say 'oh I want to do that,'" Mancini said.

Gianna Mancini also had a successful high school career, and it transferred over to her collegiate career. In her freshman year, she had 5 goals and 1 more in the year after that. It has been a slow season for her so far, but there is still plenty of time for her to improve.

Gianna Mancini was in third grade when she started her field hockey career. Ever since then, she and Isabella Mancini have been through the same teams. Throughout high school, they were able to play together for several years of their lives, except the two years prior to Isabella Mancini being in college.

“Those two years that we weren’t playing together were weird because we had been together since we were little babies,” Gianna Mancini said.

For Gianna Mancini, her biggest influence was her dad. He had some experience with street hockey, and naturally wanted to guide Isabella and Gianna Mancini throughout their athletic careers.

“My dad was our coach, so field hockey was always a thing with our family. My cousin played in college at Villanova, so it was a thing that we went to her games when we were younger. We had a field hockey net in our backyard, so we were always playing together. We would always go to the field by our house and play,” Gianna Mancini said.

With a net in their backyard, and a field right next to their house, field hockey was an important part of their lives as well as several of their family member’s lives. Since then, they have both always known that they wanted to play in college.

“I always wanted to play in college because my cousin played And we found out about the sport from her. From being a little girl, it was always one of my dreams. I was looking for schools for myself, and this school was like family to me, and (Gianna) was here so it was one big happy family,” Isabella Mancini said.

Both Isabella and Gianna Mancini have had fun together, since they've both been here. They consistently go out to eat together and go to the movies. If they didn’t have such similar looks, you might think that they were best friends. The dynamic between them is contagious, and being able to see them play together is something to look forward to. There’s a bond there that can’t be broken.

“I want to grow as a player because this is such a huge step from high school to college it’s like a totally different sport And I want to be the best player I can be," Isabella Mancini said.

While she hasn’t played many games this season, Isabella Mancini's still just a freshman. She has time to grow and develop herself as a student as well as an athlete with three-and-a-half years left in college. From Gianna Mancini's point of view as a junior, she looks back and hopes that her sister will take it slow and take advantage of her time her while she has it.

“Live in the moment because it goes by very fast. Before you know it, you’re gonna be a junior like me. I feel like freshman year went by so quickly, so enjoy everything you can, even if it’s difficult,” Gianna Mancini said.

For updates on the Rutgers field hockey team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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