After Sparking Turnaround for PDS Field Hockey, Radvany Primed for Debut Season at Michigan State
SPARTAN EFFORT: Val Radvany controls the ball in game last fall during her senior season for the Princeton Day School field hockey team. Star defender/midfielder Radvany is currently in preseason training for Michigan State’s D-I field hockey program as she prepares to make her college debut with the Spartans.Michigan State set to scrimmage Michigan on August 24 and then start open regular season action by playing St. Francis on August, 31 in Kent, Ohio. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Even though it was bumpy ride for Val Radvany during her freshman season with the Princeton Day School field hockey team in 2015, she had faith that the program would get on the winning track.
“My class, Gwen [Allen], Sasha [Sindhwani], and me was always so close,” said Radvany, looking back on a debut campaign that saw the Panthers post a 6-13-1 record.
“From where we started our freshman year and the year before, the program wasn’t doing so well. So when we got there, we were really able to build it.”
As sophomores in 2016, the trio of Radvany, Allen, and Sindhwani helped build PDS into a powerhouse as it went 16-4 on the way to the state Prep B title and the Mercer County Tournament championship game. A year later, the Panthers posted a 12-6 record and advanced to the Prep B title game. Last fall, PDS went 11-5, making it to both the MCT and Prep B championship contests.
While Radvany would have liked to have prevailed a few more times in those finals, she is still proud of what the program accomplished over her career.
“Even though we didn’t win as many championships as we wanted, we were able to help the program get back to the high standard that it was at before,” said Radvany, a versatile performer who starred in the midfield and on defense.
“The team was close knit and we bonded; we worked really hard. We always knew that we had potential to get to the championship games and win more games than we had. Each year we continued to have those aspirations.”
Radvany‘s hard work paid dividends as she committed to attend Michigan State and play for its Division I field hockey program. Currently, she is immersed in preseason training as she prepares to make her college debut with the Spartans.
Having also starred at lacrosse during her PDS career, Radvany believes that being a dual sport athlete helped prepare her for D-I competition.
“I was always able take things from field hockey and bring it to lacrosse and take things from lacrosse to field hockey as well,” said Radvany, who also played ice hockey for PDS.
“When I went to field hockey or lacrosse, I was always able to have some type of family on those teams. As I got older, I was able to be more outspoken and be more of a leader, especially in field hockey. I think that really helped me.”
From the time Radvany started the recruiting process to play field hockey in college, Michigan State was on her radar.
“I think Michigan State saw me play at a club tournament during my freshman year,” said Radvany, who competed for the Princeton Field Hockey Club throughout high school. “That kind of started things. Michigan State was always my top choice.”
Matriculating to Michigan State represents a major change of pace for Radvany.
“Coming from PDS, it is such a small school; going to college, I was excited that Michigan State was much bigger,” said Radvany, who comes from a line of D-I athletes as her older sister, Jackie Gaudioso-Radvany, helped the University of North Carolina field hockey team win the NCAA title in 2009 and her older brother, JP Radvany, just wrapped up his baseball career at Villanova. “I really enjoy watching sports and I like that they have big time football and basketball.”
After completing her club season in June and ratcheting up her conditioning, Radvany got an early taste of her future as a college student athlete, arriving at Michigan State in late June for summer school and training.
“It has been really helpful, I love it,” said Radvany, noting that preseason practices started on August 14.
“The whole team is there. It is really good for team bonding. We are able to work out as a team and do captain’s practices. Going into preseason, we already know each other. We have been doing a lot of running there so we are in pretty good shape and we can really concentrate on field hockey when preseason starts.”
With Michigan State set to have a scrimmage at Michigan on August 24 and then open regular season action by playing St. Francis on August 31 in Kent, Ohio, Radvany is concentrating on getting the most out of her freshman season, no matter what role she has on the team.
“I am a little nervous but I am mainly excited for it,” said Radvany, who figures to play both midfield and defense for the Spartans.
“My goal is to try my hardest and hopefully I will get some playing time. I just want to grow as a player mainly.”