The characteristics some of her coaches used to describe her — tenacious, fearless, determined and not afraid to mix it up — are fitting of her surname.
Coaches were describing Ashley Bull, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at Walnut Grove Secondary.
“She is best described as fearless,” said former coach Sean Beasley. “Not too many girls find themselves on the lacrosse floor with male players, but she had no fear.”
“She plays with extreme passion for the game and size certainly didn’t matter to her, she would go mess it up with anyone.”
That fearlessness probably comes from years of being the little sister, tagging along when it came time to play.
“My brother (Brandon) got me started,” Bull said. “When I was little, I would just follow him and his best friend, Sean Lundstrom, and my cousin, Ryley Brown.
“They would include me in everything.”
Her bloodlines also helped, with her dad, Dennis, and grandfather Harvey, teaching her about the sport, as well as her mom, Ann, an accomplished player. Her grandmother Carole was her biggest supporter.
But the youngest of the Bull clan is making a name for herself.
On Sunday, after an agonizing tryout process which stretched across 18 months, Bull was named to the 18-player Team Canada roster for the world U19 women’s field lacrosse championships, which will be played in Hanover, Germany from Aug. 3-13.
Bull said she was speechless when she found out she made the final cut. The players were brought into a room with the coaches, one at a time, and then given the news.
She was left speechless, and could only nod her head yes as she hugged her mom, words failing to materialize from her mouth.
The shock of making the elite team was because Bull is one of three youngest on the roster and the only selection from B.C. One other player is from Calgary and the rest are from back east.
“Coming from the west, because the coaches are more familiar with the eastern players, I had to prove myself,” Bull said. “It seemed like a long shot, I didn’t think it would happen.”
“Hopefully there are bigger accomplishments to come, but this is one I will cherish forever,” she added.
The Team Canada coaching staff saw potential with Bull during the tryout process.
“Every time we had to lower our roster size down, when her name came up for discussion, there was a lot of upside,” said coach Scott Teeter. “There was never a time when we thought ‘OK, we are not taking this girl to the next level.’”
She will play defender for Canada.
Bull proved to be a quick study.
“She is a coach’s dream, she is a sponge,” Teeter said.
“Everything we throw at her, she responds to.
“And she so athletic and has great natural ability.”
Bull knew lacrosse was her game.
She played soccer for six years, but realized field lacrosse was her true passion.
“Just the feeling I got,” she explained about how she knew. “I picked it up quite fast and I always played confident.”
Bull threw herself into lacrosse, both the box and field games, with the Langley Minor Lacrosse Association.
She credited her coaches in the minor system along the way. Until Langley formed a girls-only field lacrosse team, Bull was often the only female on the boys’ team.
But Bull was just another player, not timid or shy in the testosterone-dominated setting.
“Even in bantam, which is when the boys start to develop attitude and some muscle, she still never shied away from anything,” said former coach Ted Plevy, adding she was very coachable and a good all-around kid.
“You could count on her to do everything she was asked,” he said.
“Her work ethic and dedication and attitude certainly go a long way to determining the success she is experiencing right now,” Beasley said.