Time to get better

Athletes never stop working hard, especially Stephanie Lavigne, starting setter for the Portland State Vikings. Even after returning from a potentially career-ending knee injury, Lavigne is a huge piece to the puzzle that could result in a championship.


Captain Stephanie Lavigne, a fifth-year senior from Webber, Idaho, looks to bring her team to the Big Sky title. As one of the key leaders on the team the 5-8 Lavigne runs the entire offense for Portland State from her position as setter. She loves the strategy and tactical decisions that are entrusted to her every game. Last year, however, Lavigne’s career was almost forfeited to a knee injury.


During a practice in the spring of her junior year two years ago, Lavigne dove for a ball and tore her ACL, MCL and meniscus cartilage in her knee. This benched her for the next eight months, knocking her out of her entire senior season. “It was really hard, but I never wanted to quit. The coaches and training staff just told me, ‘It’s time to get better’,” Lavigne said.


Working hard to get her knee back to playing form, Lavigne went through plenty of struggles.


“I did lots of stationary work, it was really tough to find my role on the team and to progress and win. But it helped to watch, you know. I became a student of the game,” she said. A student who is second on the PSU career assists list with 3,168 and averaging over 10 assists a game.


Lavigne dominates not only on the court but off as well. She has been selected to the Big Sky All-Academic team three previous years. She is majoring in community health and minoring in community development. Lavigne hopes to graduate next year and potentially continue on to medical school. Lavigne also worked during the summer as a volleyball coach at Lakeside Volleyball Club in Beaverton.


She received honors in her last season as the Coaches’ Player of the Year and the Captain’s Award for her leadership. Lavigne enjoys the pressure of being one of the team’s leaders and she understands the pressure of the position. “You’re only a leader if you have someone to follow you,” she said. Lavigne leads with hard work, hustle and her confidence in the offense.


There is no doubt in her mind that this years Vikings are going to make a run at the playoffs. “When we play as a team we can compete with anyone in the conference,” Lavigne said.


Lavigne admitted that she sometimes internalizes a mistake and lets it carry over into the next play. Her drive for perfection can sometimes get in her own head. These mistakes are similar to those that professional athletes can sometimes make, and on the volleyball court Stephanie is a professional.


With a promising playoff push the team will count on Lavigne for her guidance in the coming weeks. Marla Morin, is a junior outside-hitter and Lavigne’s roommate.

“She takes care of her teammates on the court as well as off,” Morin said.