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Seniors in Suffolk Sports: Nikki Cignarella

Jeanette NIKKIC

Cignarella in her team photo. Courtesy of Suffolk Athletics.

Playing softball has always been part of Nikki Cignarella’s life. She began playing at the age of five and has loved the sport ever since. When she graduated Norwood High School in 2010, she knew she wanted to continue playing throughout college.

Cignarella, currently a Suffolk senior and majoring in Business Finance, plays second and third base for the Rams. In past seasons with the team, she has also played shortstop and center field.

As she graduates this May, the 2014 season will mark Cignarella’s last year with the team.

Cignarella said she wants to be remembered as “an incredible softball player who never gave up and always put forth her best.”

Being a senior as well as a team captain is what motivates her every day.

“It makes me want to go out with a huge bang” said Cignarella. “Make incredible plays in the field, hit more hits than I ever have, steal more bases, et cetera.”

“It makes me give more than 150% effort all the time because I want to prove something,” she said. “I want to prove not only to my teammates, coaches, and school… but also to myself; that I am better than my best.”

Cignarella’s transition from high school to college softball was never a hard one. Playing for the Division I Champion, Norwood Mustangs, prepared her for what was to come in college.

Cignarella says the main difference between the high school and college level, is the length of games. “[It’s] playing double headers versus one game a day. You quickly realize that you have to play 14 innings instead of 7, so regardless of the outcome of the first game, you have to reset your mind to a 0-0 game score at the start of the second game.”

“If you make a mistake during the first game, for example make an error or strikeout, you have to have the will and strength to let it go and realize there is another game left to play,” said Cignarella.

“That is one of the hardest things to overcome as a college athlete,” she said.

When she isn’t in class you can find Cignarella with her team, at practices or games. Out of school, she likes to relax at home with her family and friends.

The past four years at Suffolk has given Cignarella life-long friendships that will follow her throughout the years to come, and memories that will last a lifetime.

For Cignarella, being part of the Suffolk Rams softball team means to play with a purpose.

“We always look to be better than the previous game, previous inning, previous play. We are fourteen individuals, but more importantly we are a team,” she says. “To be a Suffolk Ram means to be one unit, one team, and at the core, one family.”

After graduating this May, Cignarella hopes to work at a financial firm and eventually make her way up the ladder to obtain an upper level position at a top 20 financial firm. She also hopes to soon be married and start a family.

Suffolk will be back on the home field to face Rivier this Saturday, April 5th at 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. at Popoulo Field in the North End. You can find their upcoming games here.

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