Ashley Bernardi is no stranger to success on the lacrosse field.
While playing for Medina, she was a key part in a run of consecutive trips to the state Final Four, and that has carried over to the collegiate level as she has become the top scorer in Mount Union history.
The 5-foot-2 attacker has found that finishing the play is nice, but winning games and helping her teammates be successful is even better.
“I used to find greater joy in scoring goals rather than assisting, but this year I’ve been focusing on setting other people up,” Bernardi said. “It doesn’t matter to me who has the most goals. My teammates are great at getting open, so if I see them I will do what I can to get them the ball.”
That selfless attitude has helped her emerge as a complete player, one who recently became the Purple Raiders’ all-time points leader with 279 (180 goals, 99 assists).
“Coming into college, the thought never came up that I would be breaking these offensive records,” said Bernardi, who also holds school marks for goals, assists and points in a game and season. “My freshman year, my goal was simply to see as much field time as possible. Since then, I have focused on performance over points. I strive to perform at my best ability each time I step onto the field.”
The senior already has 43 goals and 32 assists through 11 games this season, including a school-record eight assists and 15 points in a win over Fredonia State (N.Y.). She also was tabbed as the Ohio Athletic Conference’s Offensive Player of the Week after putting up seven goals and 10 assists in wins over D-II Walsh and Ohio Northern.
“I think the key to my success revolves around passion,” Bernardi said. “I love the sport, so I do a lot outside of team practices, like shooting and playing wall ball.
“I’m also surrounded by a lot of other passionate players, so we really push each other hard while having a good time doing it.”
Bernardi also is finding ways to help the 10-1 Purple Raiders win. She has dedicated herself to the weight room and has added more to her already established skill set, especially using the advantage of being a left-handed shooter and helping slow opposing teams down on re-defend situations.
“I have been working hard to make an impact on different parts of the field,” Bernardi said. “The mission I have in mind for the end of the season is a team mission and that is to win the OAC Conference and make it farther than we have in the NCAA tournament.”
While the mission to get further than the Sweet 16, a spot the seven-year-old program has been to twice, is still down the road, Bernardi is enjoying the ride and continuing to set the bar high for future Mount Union players.
“I have been playing lacrosse for 10 years now and my favorite part about the sport is the relationships,” she said. “I’m still very close friends with a lot of my high school teammates and I’m sure that will continue with my current teammates after I graduate.
“It is very surreal that future players will look up to me and try to surpass my records. I hope they do. This program is incredible and I hope to watch it continuously grow.”