May 18, 2012
By Krissy Woods
VILLANOVA, Pa. - For Men's Lacrosse senior Michael Vigilante, Thursday evening's Senior Student-Athlete Banquet held special meaning for the Massapequa, N.Y. native as he took time to reflect before graduating on Sunday. The midfielder was awarded the prestigious Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award, dedicated to the athlete who unselfishly sacrifices time, effort, body and soul to lead and motivate their teammates in excelling for Villanova athletics through inspiration.
Created in 1985, the Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award is given annually to the student-athlete who has earned the respect of their teammates and coaches through his or her effort.
Vigilante overcame three nearly career-ending injuries during his athletic career, suffering from his first significant setback at the age of 16 resulting in a lateral release and meniscus repair thick in the midst of recruiting as a sophomore at Massapequa High School on Long Island, N.Y.
After successfully rehabbing and returning to the lacrosse field just five months later, Vigilante caught the eye of Head Coach Mike Corrado and Associate Head Coach Simon Connor and fell in love with the Villanova University community during a visit to campus during his junior year. He committed to play for the Wildcats shortly thereafter.
"I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the lacrosse team during my visit, combine a great team with academics, the business school and the team Coach Corrado and Connor were building... I was sold," stated Vigilante.
Vigilante continued and concluded a great career at Massapequa, earning All-County laurels in 2008 and finishing with 62 goals, 32 assists and 94 points during his high school career. The summer after graduation, Vigilante began prepping mentally and physically for the rigors of the collegiate game when disaster struck for a second time during a freak accident playing casual football on the beach with friends. The verdict was a torn ACL and MCL just weeks before entering Villanova for his freshman season and in the same left knee he injured just two years prior.
"The second injury to the same knee was a huge blow, but I knew I was going to get on the field and wanted to do all I could to get back and earn playing time."
"The second injury to the same knee was a huge blow, but I knew I was going to get on the field and wanted to do all I could to get back and earn playing time," Vigilante said.
After another successful surgery under a New York Jets team doctor and countless hours of physical therapy with trainers, Vigilante appeared in four games during the 2009 season under Corrado and began the path to becoming one of the hardest working athletes on the team.
As a midfielder, Vigilante continued to grow and flourish under Connor's offense and became stronger and more comfortable with each practice. During the 2010 season, Vigilante appeared in all 15 games, making two starts and posting 13 goals and three assists for the season. Just a year later, Vigilante became a staple as a starting midfielder during his junior season tallying 14 goals, nine assists and 23 points while helping the Wildcats reach their highest ranking in program history at No. 7 in the national polls. He was also a vital member of the team which helped gain the first at-large bid to the NCAA postseason tournament in Villanova Lacrosse history.
Upon conclusion of the historic 2011 season, Vigilante was elected a captain by his fellow teammates and began taking on the responsibilities of the leadership role for his senior campaign. As a standout in the classroom and Finance major in the prestigious Villanova School of Business, Vigilante secured an internship in New York City with Citadel, LLC., often working 14 hour-plus days and fitting in summer workouts at 4:30am while playing in a competitive summer lacrosse league as often as possible.
"That has to be one of the toughest things for a kid to do, to watch practices and rehab on his own while his teammates are out on the field. But when Michael told me he was not going to redshirt and he was going to play and graduate with his class that Spring, I knew if anyone was going to do it, he would."
Head Coach Michael Corrado
In true Vigilante fashion, the rising senior led his summer team to the championship game, but in the final minutes of the title match, the midfielder took a hard cut to dodge his defender before feeling his knee go out from underneath him. After undergoing an MRI the doctors informed him that he had done considerable damage to his healthy right knee, tearing his ACL, MCL and meniscus just two weeks prior to returning to Villanova for his senior year.
Vigilante had surgery immediately by orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Hurley, the father of teammate Billy Hurley, and missed the first week and a half of classes recuperating at home in Massapequa, missing the start of his senior year. Upon his return to campus, Vigilante was limited to having his fellow teammates push his wheelchair around campus while his knee healed.
"That has to be one of the toughest things for a kid to do, to watch practices and rehab on his own while his teammates are out on the field. But when Michael told me he was not going to redshirt and he was going to play and graduate with his class that Spring, I knew if anyone was going to do it, he would," stated Corrado.
The six-month healing process was well ahead of schedule when Vigilante joined the team for their first practice on January 18th, 2012. Not only was he on the practice field for day one of preseason, but he was on the turf every game in 2012 playing and starting in all 15 contests. For the season, he finished with 15 goals and seven assists and during his career amassed 42 goals and 19 assists for 61 career points.
Vigilante culminated his senior season being named a Second Team All-BIG EAST selection and was voted by his fellow teammates to receive the Jim Jones Memorial Award, given annually to the Villanova Lacrosse graduating senior who best represents loyalty, courage and dedication both on and off the field. Additionally, Vigilante, or as better known by his teammates and friends as `Vig', is a finalist to be named a Scholar All-America selection by the United States Interscholastic Lacrosse Association.
"Michael's commitment, dedication and sacrifice to his teammates and the men's lacrosse program allowed him to overcome three major knee injuries, the corresponding surgeries and rehabilitations to enjoy an outstanding four year career on the Men's Lacrosse team. I'm honored to present him with the Sister Mary Margaret Cribben Award," Corrado stated at Thursday evening's banquet.
Vigilante responded, "I just want to thank everyone who has helped me over the past four years; my teammates, coaches, friends, fellow seniors across all sports who kept me motivated, and especially my family and parents. Without you this wouldn't be possible and I want to say thank you. I'm incredibly honored."