Chasing a Dream Come True ... from D-III to D-I Lacrosse

When a high school athlete begins the process of searching for a college of their choosing, most of them have a dream of playing at their favorite college or university, no matter what it takes. That is exactly what Victoria Brady was going through her senior year of high school.

Brady, who played women's lacrosse at North Penn high school in Lansdale, Pa. and was part of the U15 National Team, grew up loving the game and she too had a dream of playing lacrosse at the Division I level. After a strong showing during her senior year of high school, Brady was recruited by several college coaches from the likes of Cal Berkley, St. Joseph's, La Salle, and Franklin & Marshall.

Brady visited most of the campuses and verbally committed to St. Joseph's to play lacrosse there. However, life had another plan; two weeks prior to the start of her freshman year, a family crisis hit Brady's family and she knew that with a partial scholarship at St. Joes, it would be too much of burden on her family and she did not want to bear that responsibility on her parents.

Brady anxiously looked around at the local colleges nearby and reached out to a familiar face that she had always trusted over the years, former Penn State Abington women's lacrosse head coach Debra Andress. After several conversations with Andress, Brady knew she wanted to enroll at Penn State Abington and play lacrosse.

"Deb helped me a lot as she was my coach for the U15 National Team," said Brady regarding Andress. "I talked to her a lot through the process of applying to colleges, because I originally committed with St. Joe's for lacrosse, but that didn't work out. So I knew I wanted to come to Abington and perhaps have an opportunity to play lacrosse."

Penn State Abington is a commonwealth campus of the Penn State University and is located in the suburbs 15 miles north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Abington offers 14 varsity teams, including women's lacrosse, and is a full member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division III and participates in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) and the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).

While it wasn't exactly a Division I caliber program, Brady knew that Abington would be the perfect fit for her, especially with the transition from high school to college. "I knew that Abington would work out because I was going from being committed to a big (college) to a smaller college, and I would be closer to my family," said Brady.

As Brady began fall classes during her first semester at Penn State Abington, she was enjoying the camaraderie, the atmosphere and the size of the campus.

"The main thing that helped me was the smaller aspect of it, and being able to have those smaller one-on-one classes instead of jumping from high school to a major college with 300 people per class and just becoming so lost. At Abington, I felt connected with my professors and with my peers, and that really helped me with the transition from high school to college."

However, she felt that she was missing something with her college experience; she missed the game and had a strong desire to play lacrosse at Abington.

"To me, nursing is always going to be my career. That's going to be my life and that's what I have a lot of passion in. But I also have a passion for the game of lacrosse," explained Brady. "Abington gave me the opportunity to do both, being able to be involved with nursing and play lacrosse all at once. It's a once in a lifetime chance, and after college I may never have the opportunity again."

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