Fallbrook High School senior Lauren Copeland signed a letter of intent to play field hockey at the University of California, Davis.
Copeland signed her letter of intent Feb. 6 during the National Signing Day ceremony at the San Diego Hall of Champions.
“It was very exciting, one of the most exciting days of my life, actually. It’s such a relief to know that I’m actually committed there,” Copeland said. “I can’t wait to get started with my college career.”
Copeland had also been considering Missouri State, although Davis was her first choice. “Davis has been my number one choice since sophomore year and I just really wanted to stay in California so my parents can watch games,” she said. “I thought Davis would be a better option.”
Copeland has not yet decided upon a major but is leaning towards a career as an orthodontist after she completes college.
Last year Copeland participated at a Davis summer camp and met Aggies coach Vianney Campos.
“We’re extremely excited about her coming to Davis,” Campos said. “She’s just so athletic and so knowledgeable. I think she’s going to fit in really well.”
Copeland is the third Fallbrook High School player to sign with Davis since the university reinstated field hockey for the 2009 season. Defender Lydia Brambila, who graduated from Fallbrook High School in 2009 and was on the original revived team, is now a senior and ended her collegiate career by being selected to the all-tournament team following the post-season NorPac conference tournament. Midfielder Jamie Garcia, who graduated from Fallbrook High School in 2012, appeared in all 20 games during her freshman field hockey season and scored six goals while leading the Aggies with eight assists.
Although Copeland won’t play with Brambila in college, she will be reunited with Garcia. “I’m very excited. She’s been my role model since I was a freshman,” Copeland said.
“She’s going to work well with Jamie Garcia,” Campos said.
Copeland was a midfielder when she made her varsity debut in 2011 and replaced Garcia as Fallbrook’s center midfielder during the 2012 season. “Lauren is a very strong player,” said Fallbrook coach Kirstin Mueller. “She just controlled the whole game.”
Copeland, who did not play any other sports at Fallbrook High School, was on the Warriors’ junior varsity for her first two high school seasons and was Fallbrook’s junior varsity captain as a sophomore. Between her sophomore and junior years Copeland played in the in the National Futures Tournament after being an under-16 selection for that tournament. She made the 2011 varsity as a junior and earned second-team Avocado League honors, second team all-Division I recognition, and second-team all-CIF distinction.
In February 2012, Copeland traveled to Florida to compete at the Disney Showcase in Orlando. In March 2012, Copeland played with the Rush team in the National Indoor Tournament in Virginia.
Copeland was one of the varsity captains for the 2012 season. She scored seven goals while leading the team with eight assists. She earned first-team all-CIF and all-league honors.
“She has natural ability as well. She’s a great team player,” Mueller said.
“She’s very eager to learn. She’s very passionate about the sport,” Campos said.
Copeland is a lifelong Fallbrook resident who attended Frazier Elementary School from kindergarten through third grade, La Paloma Elementary School as a fourth-grader, Live Oak Elementary School for her fifth and sixth grade years, and Potter Junior High School while in seventh and eighth grades. Copeland started playing field hockey in seventh grade but was familiar with the sport prior to that.
Her mother, Terry, played field hockey at Buena Park High School. Her sister, Ali, played on Fallbrook High School’s field hockey team before graduating in 2011; Ali Copeland is now a sophomore at Palomar College after spending her freshman college year at Arizona State University, which does not have a field hockey program. “I thought it would be cool to continue the tradition,” Lauren Copeland said.
After joining the Potter field hockey team during her first year at the school, she discovered that she was playing for enjoyment rather than to maintain a family legacy. “I loved the sport,” she said.
Fallbrook won the CIF Division I championship in 2011, and Copeland considers that to be the highlight of her high school career. “That was so exciting,” she said.
“The whole team is just like a family and we’re all really close,” Copeland said of being on the Fallbrook squad.
In addition to her field hockey activity, Copeland was involved with the National Charity League for six years.
“Just really happy that she’s going to Davis,” Mueller said. “She’s a great player.”
Campos signed seven players to scholarships for the 2013 season, including four from San Diego County. She noted that Copeland may or may not start as a freshman. “Any freshman coming in is going to have to work for a starting position,” Campos said. “I think any recruit we bring in has the desire to compete or they wouldn’t be part of our program.”
(Garcia started eight of Davis’ 20 games in 2012.)
“I think she’s going to be a top-notch player for us,” Campos said of Copeland. “We’re just excited for her.”