Simone Vagnoni Feature: Spreading My Wings
Spartan redshirt senior back
By Brandi Scarber, MSU Athletic Communications Student Assistant
Simone Vagnoni, senior ball handler for Michigan State University’s field hockey team, has stepped into a role in her last year as a Spartan that isn’t very familiar to her.
Coming out of her quiet and reserved shell has been inevitable over the past four years at MSU for Vagnoni.
“Playing on this team has really pushed me to really get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to be uncomfortable”, said Vagnoni. “I’ve learned to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. I think I have gradually developed a voice.”
Field hockey is the Collegeville, Pennsylvania native’s blood, as her mom is a former player and Vagnoni has been playing the sport since she was just five years old.
Adjusting to the rigorous physical activity of college field hockey, and managing her free time were among some of Vagnoni’s struggles during her freshman year. However, she now credits these things as helping to make her who she is today.
In an early setback, Vagnoni suffered an injury during her freshman year. She said the injury was a blessing and curse, because it allowed her to feel out the culture of the team, to adjust and to adapt to her new life at MSU.
In addition to the amazing support she receives from her mom and dad who have driven from Pennsylvania to attend every one of her games this season, Vagnoni appreciates the support she receives from her team and Spartan fans.
“It means a lot, it really has been a huge part of my life. The most meaningful thing for me is to have such a supportive family and team,” said Vagnoni. “All of our supporters, I consider them my Spartan family. They support me with field hockey, academics, anything in my life. They have really pushed me to grow and develop as a person and that’s amazing. I know that I can call on them any day.”
So much of what Vagnoni has learned during her time as a Spartan are things she believes will translate well into her life after college as she pursues a career in health promotions.
“I’ve learned a lot. I think with being on the team, what I’ve learned is you really need to have good communication within the team. Be it with your teammates, with the coaches. You have to be flexible too,” said Vagnoni. “Not everything is going to go one way and you have to be able to rebound from that, so just being resilient in pretty much all aspects of life.”
With the season sometimes becoming what Vagnoni describes as a “grind,” she tries to keep the atmosphere and team dynamic as fun and light-hearted as she can.
Aside from the fun, it has been a constant battle between excitement and nostalgia for Vagnoni in her last season. Before she departs, she feels a responsibility to push her younger teammates to continue to work on themselves.
“I try to encourage our younger teammates to not wait until their senior year to think ‘now it’s my time,’” said Vagnoni. “I try to encourage them to really learn from us.”