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

Brady jumped in on the first day of practice nervous. "I came out onto the field and all the players had their same uniforms on just for practice and I was like 'Oh, my gosh', but after I started playing with them during the first tryout, I felt so comfortable because I didn't have anything to lose."

Head coach Missy Doherty watched Brady very closely during tryouts and liked what she saw in her. After all it's not very often that a player who just recently played Division III athletics will have a chance to try out for a Division I athletic program.

"Brady has great potential. She's a versatile athlete, a hard worker and she fits in well with the team," said Doherty. "It doesn't happen very often to see a player jump from Division III to Division I, but everyone's path is different. It is quite uncommon, however with Victoria, she is a unique athlete and every athlete brings something to the team. She brings that emotion and hard work ethic and pushes other players to become better, and that's what I look for in a player."

Brady became more confident and played her hardest during the three-day tryout period, and she felt relieved for being given the opportunity to play. "I was very happy with the experience and that I got to tryout and know in my heart that I can play with these girls, and regardless of the outcome, whether I make the team or not, it was the experience that mattered, that in my mind I can tell myself that 'okay, I did it, I tried out.'"

Shortly after tryouts concluded, Brady received a call from Doherty for a meeting.

"I knew it was about the tryouts and to be honest, at first I didn't expect to make the team, but I knew that regardless of what happened, I was proud for getting a once in a lifetime shot," said Brady. "It's not always you're given an opportunity to play, to achieve your dream, even if it's just tryouts. I can look back and say I gave it my all and not have regrets."

Doherty informed her of decision and added Brady to the team. "After I told Brady of my decision to provide her an opportunity to play and have her on the team, she was ecstatic."

Like every person's response to good news, Brady was jubilant about making the cut and her hard work paying off. She had reached her dream of playing Division I athletics.

"I was shocked! I couldn't believe it that I made the team!," Brady said in response to the decision. "I was given a tour of the locker room and I saw my nameplate above my locker and I realized that I finally made my dream. I was just ecstatic."

Shortly after the meeting, Brady could barely contain her excitement and called her family, who was more proud than ever. "My brother and sisters were also excited. My brother, who also plays club lacrosse at Penn State, was always yelling at me when I wasn't going to try out."

Brady then called her former coach and mentor, Deb Andress, and shared the news.

"I got a phone call from Tori and she was just crying and laughing hysterically and she just shouted 'Coach, I made the team! I made it!,'" said Andress. "I knew she could do it and I knew she could push herself hard because she does have the skills as a player to make the team."

Brady credits her Division III student-athlete experience at Penn State Abington as a plus with the transition to Division I athletics. It helped her learn to balance her time wisely between intensive nursing class schedules and lacrosse practices.

"Being a Division III student-athlete, I had to go to classes early in the morning, stay until five or six for practice, work out afterwards, and then travel back home and do it all over again the next day."

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