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

After talking with Andress about playing at Abington, Brady knew that the women's lacrosse program was struggling to thrive. She knew she could not only help Andress grow the program with her talent, but share the passion for the game with her peers as well.

"I knew Deb (Andress) was trying to build up the team and luckily, we were able to recruit a lot of new girls on campus to start playing, even some who have never picked up a lacrosse stick before," said Brady. "It was a really unique experience playing at Abington. To share that passion for lacrosse and teaching the new girls a new sport, later to fall in love with the game as I did, it was fun for me."

Brady didn't just teach the game of lacrosse, the game also taught her more about herself as a player and as an individual. She came to fully understand what the true meaning of the term 'student-athlete' really meant.

"Taking my experiences and skills and the things that I knew growing up to help the team grow as beginning players was amazing," said Brady. "And I learned a lot of leadership from Deb that year and, being one of the more experienced players on the team, it was helpful to be a role model and lead them and still have fun myself."

Brady had to learn a new system at Abington under Andress. Throughout her high school years, Brady had a strong awareness as a defender. Andress knew that, however she had another purpose for Brady, utilizing her speed and quickness on the draw to lead the offensive squad at midfield.

"I'm usually a defender, but I got to play a lot more offense last year and I learned and grew a lot," said Brady on the position switch. "I learned a lot more offensive skills and became a more well-rounded player."

Her experiences truly paid off during the 2012 season at Penn State Abington. Brady helped her team grow throughout the season, contributing 21 goals, two assists, and winning 29 draw controls. The Nittany Lions won four conference games and miraculously qualified for the North Eastern Athletic Conference playoffs for the first time in program history.

Brady wasn't just an athlete, she also excelled as a student at Abington. She was later named NEAC Scholar Athlete for the 2011-12 academic year and was honored with the Penn State University President's Award, which is given to a first year student university wide that attained at 4.0 GPA.

After the first year at Abington, Brady felt a sense of accomplishment and transferred up to University Park, the main campus of the Penn State system, to pursue her nursing career. However, she felt something was still missing; she still had that desire to play lacrosse.

That following fall, Brady tried out for the women's lacrosse club team at the main campus where she knew some of the players from her youth years. Despite the enjoyment and the time with the club team, she knew it wasn't good enough. She still wanted to fulfill her dream, the experience of playing Division I athletics.

"I loved that I was playing club lacrosse, the flexibility with my schedule and being able to compete and enjoy the fun-loving aspect of the game, but there was still that part of me that wanted the hard practices and the intense workouts, like someone pushing me, the excitement of rigorous playing time."

After hearing about the possibility of trying out during fall ball with the women's varsity lacrosse team, Brady was anxious at first. She called her family and Andress for support on what to do.

"At first, when I tried out for the team, not even thinking that I would make it, I just wanted to try out for the experience, to see the girls, the level of play, to see where I would fit in and just compare myself to that level of play. It was so nerve wracking at first, but Deb and my family were just saying 'Why not, there's nothing to lose, just go for it, and I did.'"

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2013-02-12



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