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Brambila to help Davis reinstate field hockey program

When the University of Davis field hockey program is reinstated

this August, one of their players will be Lydia Brambila.

“It’s been one of my dreams to play a sport in college. I’m just happy that I’m actually living it,” she said.

The Fallbrook High School senior signed a letter of intent February 4 to play for Davis. “I was real excited and overwhelmed at the same time,” she said. “It was my hard work, and it’s finally paying off.”

Brambila, who was born in Oceanside and moved from Oceanside to Fallbrook when she was three years old, began playing soccer when she was five. Her father had played soccer at Vista High School and Palomar College and currently plays in an adult league, andher mother played soccer in an adult league. Brambila is the younger of two siblings and her brother, Adrian, played soccer at Fallbrook High School and currently plays for the University of Dubuque in Iowa.

Brambila became a three-sport athlete in high school. She took up her Fall sport, field hockey, as an eighth-grader at Potter Junior High School. A group of four friends investigated that sport. “We were just kind of open,” Brambila said. “We fell in love with it.”

Brambila, who attended elementary school at Fallbrook Street and Live Oak, continued field hockey at Fallbrook High School. She spent ninth grade on the Warriors’ junior varsity and was on the varsity team for three years. She earned second-team all-league recognition as a junior, and in 2008 Brambila was selected to first-team Avocado League honors and to the all-CIF Division I first team. Brambila played both midfield and defender for the field hockey team.

“I am just thrilled,” Fallbrook High School field hockey coach Kathy Waite said of Brambila’s college scholarship.

Brambila’s career with the Potter Junior High School field hockey team didn’t end after joining the high school squad. Her extracurricular activities also include helping the Potter team as an assistant coach.

Brambila plays club soccer for the Vista Storm. Although she did not play high school soccer this season, she was on the junior varsity team in ninth grade and on the varsity as a sophomore and junior. Brambila played mostly outside midfield for Fallbrook High School with some time as a defender; she is a center-midfielder in club soccer.

Brambila plans to return to the Warrior track and field team for a fourth season in 2009. She competes in the hurdles, long jump, and triple jump.

Brambila also works part-time as a waitress in the Hukilau restaurant at the Fallbrook Golf Club.

“On and off the field she just excels in everything she does,” said Vianney Campos, who will be the Davis field hockey coach.

Davis dropped field hockey in the early 1980s but will resume the sport with a home contest August 31 against Missouri State. That reinstatement gives high school players additional opportunities to continue their field hockey careers. “It’s really a very timely one, having a fourth Division I school in California,” Waite said.

Pacific, Stanford, and Cal also have NCAA Division I field hockey. Campos played at Pacific for four years and later served as an assistant coach at Pacific.

Campos’ tenure on the Pacific coaching staff gave her some familiarity with high school players around the state, and she has also observed camps, the Cal Cup, and the regional Futures Tournament.

“I’ve actually had the opportunity to watch Lydia play,” Campos said. “Immediately she made an impact on me.”

The concept of field hockey at Davis may have been familiar to Waite, who has coached Fallbrook High School’s varsity since 1982 and coached the junior varsity team in 1981, but has been unknown to the current high school players born during the college program’s dormancy. Brambila had been considering three NCAA Division II schools in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference - Slippery Rock University, Shippensburg University, and East Stroudsburg University - to continue her field hockey career. “I hadn’t been looking at Division I,” she said.

Campos wanted Brambila to consider the Aggies. “As a player I think she has a very finesse style of play; she’s very athletic,” Campos said.

“She’s a leader on the field,” Campos said of Brambila. “She’s one of those people you just enjoy being around.”

Brambila spoke to Campos. “I just opened my eyes,” Brambila said.

Brambila took up the challenge of playing in Division I and playing for a new program while having her college expenses paid. “We’re very excited to have her,” Campos said.

Brambila noted that the new program gives the Davis players an opportunity to prove that they are serious about playing and to put the Davis field hockey program on the map. She believes that her teammates can accomplish those goals. “They all have a really good work ethic,” she said. “I’m excited to see all the opportunities we’re going to get.”

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