Feb. 21, 2014
Cavalier fans should be very familiar with the name "Ashlee Warner." Last season, the attacker from Corning, N.Y. began the year by logging points in each of the first 19 games. She finished the season ranking second on the team in points (55), goals (34) and assists (21), tying for ninth in the ACC in assists per game (0.95), with her name etched in the starting line-up 20 times.
With that solid performance, it is hard to imagine that prior to 2013, Warner had only seen action in a combined three games during her first two seasons.
"Those first two years I was here were tough but now all of the running and all of the practice is finally adding up," Warner said. "All of the little things, day in and day out, are adding up and playing out. It's nice."
The hard-work and determination has paid off on the field and in the locker room where Warner was voted to share 2014 team captain duties with fellow-senior Maddy Keeshan.
"Everyone on the team votes for it, so it means a lot to know that your teammates have your back and are there for you, as well as your coaches," Warner said of the honor. "It is nice to be a leader on and off the field. We have a great group of girls so I'm excited."
Warner didn't grow up playing lacrosse, focusing on softball and gymnastics when she was younger.
"I was an all-around gymnast but beam was my favorite," Warner recalled of her former sport. "My mom (Linda) couldn't watch when I was doing beam, she would get too nervous, even in practice. You take some tough falls and it was hard for her to watch. I actually had thought about going to school for gymnastics, but I stuck with lacrosse instead and quit all my other sports. I really like lacrosse."
It was in the eighth grade, at the urging of her brothers Andy and Ryan, that she first gave lacrosse a shot.
"My two brothers put a lacrosse stick in my hand, and said `that's enough with softball, you're playing lacrosse,' because they wanted a buddy in the back yard to play catch with. I actually picked up on lacrosse pretty quickly. My brothers helped me with that a lot. My high school is pretty decent at lacrosse and my varsity coach brought me up for a couple games in eighth grade and in ninth I started on varsity, which was when I realized that I might be good at it."
Warner really loves the sport, but her favorite parts of the game are the intangibles of Virginia lacrosse.
"I really like playing with my teammates and celebrating with them on the field, it's a great feeling," Warner said. "You can't mimic that anywhere else. Even getting taped on the away games, the bus trips and the pregame meals there's a lot of stuff along the way that make it great, including our team's serious Netflix problem. We are really into Friday Night Lights, Prison Break, Modern Family, you name it. I think we have all watched them all. When someone finishes a series, we can't wait to figure out what's next so we can all watch and talk about it."
Warner, a kinesiology major, will receive her bachelor's degree in kinesiology in May and then next year will graduate with her masters in exercise physiology. As part of her major's requirements, she has been doing an internship at the Martha Jefferson outpatient cardiac rehab center, an internship that she still manages to find a way to squeeze in the hours even during lacrosse season. She hasn't determined what career path she wants to take, but is strongly considering cardiac rehab.
Right now, she is focused on enjoying her final season of lacrosse and is already able to reflect on her career and appreciate those who have made her experience so special.
"I want to say thank you to all of my teammates who have helped me along the way," Warner said. "And my parents who have made it to every game they could. They have been really good about that, being so far away. And thank you to my coaches for giving me the opportunity to play here."
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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