April 12, 2010
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - In Rocky Point native Danielle Vivonetto, Navy's first recruit from lacrosse-rich Long Island, Cindy Timchal has found a keeper. A year after scoring a Navy freshman-best 31 goals, Vivonetto has racked up 50 goals this spring and has the Timchal-led Mids flying high at a program-best 13-2, including a 4-0 mark in league play.
Together with senior standout Erin Rawlick (58 g, 26 a), Vivonetto has given Navy one of the nation's top 1-2 scoring punches. With the playoff push in full swing and a huge matchup with second-place Lehigh on tap for this Saturday, Navysports.com caught up with the Mids' second-year standout.
The Vivonetto File
Hometown: Rocky Point, N.Y.
High School: Rocky Point
*2010 Stats (15 games): 50 goals, 5 assists, 55 points, 3 game-winning goals
Click here to view Vivonetto's 2010 Game-by-Game Statistics
*Scored a school-record eight goals in win over Manhattan on March 18; has 10 hat tricks, three games with six or more goals this season.
*All in the Family: Her older brother, Jack, was a team captain and four-year letterwinner at Hofstra. Her sister, Victoria, is currently a senior on the Iona women's lacrosse team and her younger brother, Peter, is committed to play Division I men's lacrosse at Brown next season.
What attracted you to the Naval Academy?
I first thought about it when I was in ninth grade or so. I had been in or around Annapolis quite a bit for different lacrosse tournaments and always really liked the area. Growing up I always knew I wanted to play Division I lacrosse so initially I was looking elsewhere because there obviously wasn't a varsity team here at the time.
I was already being recruited elsewhere and was starting to set up my college plans when I found out that Navy started a women's program and that Cindy (Timchal) was going to be its first coach. I didn't decide until it was probably September of my senior year, so it was pretty late. The biggest thing was Cindy coaching here. I knew right away that I wanted to play for Cindy.
Where were you leaning towards before Navy came into the picture?
I was really interested in UC Berkeley and came really close to committing there. I was also considering Hofstra on Long Island. I really liked the idea of coming into a brand new program and being part of the group that puts Navy on the map. I wanted to be part of something special and I knew coming here I would have that chance.
When did you start playing lacrosse?
I started playing in first grade, when I was around seven years old. All of my siblings played lacrosse growing up. My brother, Jack, played at Hofstra. My sister, Victoria, plays at Iona and is a senior there. And my younger brother, Peter, is going to play at Brown next year.
Growing up we just played all the time. In my backyard we had a lacrosse net set up. My dad would always come out and play with us. There was always someone to go out and have a catch with as you can imagine. That obviously played a big role in me being where I am at today.
How has it helped having what will amount to three other DI lacrosse players in the family? Do you talk to your brothers and sisters a lot about lacrosse?
It's definitely a pretty unique situation. My oldest brother, Jack, started playing and I think the rest of us all kind of followed suit. I talk to Jack all the time about lacrosse. He comes out to a lot of games and always gives me some good pointers. It's always cool to compare all of our different college lacrosse experiences.
I think it has helped me personally quite a bit. Jack has helped teach me about keeping my composure on the field. He's always reminding me to just focus on what's in front of me. He was a defenseman and was always an aggressive player and I think I have picked up a lot of that from him as well. I think all of us have.
Any other significant influences growing up?
My family is definitely No. 1. One of my close friends, Kara Mupo, who is going to Northwestern next year, has played a big role as well. Her and I grew up always playing on every team together in soccer and lacrosse. I think we really have helped each of us push each other to get better.
You also have a high school teammate (Brianne LoManto) who is now a sophomore at Northwestern. Can we expect that you'll be bugging the coaches to try to get them on the schedule in the next two years?
I would love to play them. Absolutely. This season playing against William & Mary and Duke were both great experiences. We didn't get the outcomes we hoped for, but it really help raise our play to a new level. The energy in that William & Mary was just awesome. Hopefully we'll have some more experiences like that over the next few years.
What's it like to play for such an accomplished coaching staff?
I just love our coaches. They are so much different than any other coaches I have had before. I love how they all bring something different to the table. They all have their different coaching styles.
Being an attacker I tend to work with Kelly (Coppedge) more than anyone else. She has definitely helped bring my shooting to a whole new level. Coming here my shooting was always kind of off, but this season I feel like it has really gotten so much better. And that's because of Kelly. She always has something to add and she'll play with us in practice, which I love. Kelly is still an animal out there.
Compare your freshman and sophomore seasons
Last season, I got off to bit of a shaky start with my foot injury. I think as a plebe it's easy to let everything here stress you out. I feel like last year I was able to put most of that aside and concentrate on what I needed to at practice and in games. This year, I think that is even more so the case.
I think last year I sat back and let others take the lead in games a little bit more when we found ourselves in a tight situation. Now, I think I am much more confident. I feel like if something is going wrong, Erin and I, can just take control, take the lead and calm everyone down a bit. I don't think that was the case a year ago.
How has your adjustment to the pace of life here been?
It has never been too much of a struggle for me. Playing sports all the time growing up, you get used to the balancing act. I think the way this school is here, where you are constantly being tested, is actually a major advantage for us on the field. Knowing that you've been through plebe summer and everything else in the hall, you know you can deal with anything that's going to come your way on the lacrosse field.
Last spring, the team made a run to its first Patriot League final. This year, you're off to a 13-2 start and for the first time are unbeaten in league play through four games. What's been the key to this year's success?
Last year was a good experience even though we lost in the end. I think now we know what it takes to get over the hump. We are still a really young team, but we are hungry.
On the field, our team speed is better than it's ever been. I think we have a good mix with some terrific freshmen and our upperclassmen, who have been here from the start. We are such a tight unit. Navy women's lacrosse is like a family, it's like one big group of 50 sisters.
Is it important for the underclassmen to send this year's seniors out with a big stretch run?
Absolutely. Especially because they were the ones who got things started here during the club year, when they made the national final. I think it's important for us to make sure this season winds up being something special for them.
The thing you miss most about Long Island?
I love being by the water and my house at home is only about block away from the beach. So I miss being out by the beach all the time. The beaches here aren't like they are on LI.
Something unique, your teammates/company-mates might be surprised to know about you?
In high school, I was always really big into pottery. It was always kind of my favorite thing to do outside of sports.
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