As they have for more than eight years, Jake and Jesse Bernhardt will both be taking the field together at Selby Stadium this Saturday but for the first time ever on opposite sides of the ball. These two lacrosse fanatic brothers have played on the same sideline ever since high school and are now the first brothers to ever face off against each other during their rookie seasons in Major League Lacrosse.
“This is the first time we have actually had the chance to go up against each other on opposite teams and we’re looking forward to seeing who can bring home the win,” said Jake Bernhardt.
The Bernhardt brothers, who are also the first Florida-born players to play in MLL, both started making names for themselves after high school at the University of Maryland where Jake, the eldest of the brothers, started in 2009 followed by Jesse in 2010. From 2010-2011, the brothers played in 34 games together and helped the Terps win the program’s first ACC Championship since 2005 when the team walked away with the 2011 ACC Championship title. They also helped lead the team to the program’s first NCAA Championship game since 1998 when they took on University of Virginia in 2011 but lost 9-7 to the Cavaliers.
In what was supposed to be his final season as a Terp, Jake suffered a preseason injury in 2012 forcing him to redshirt his senior year and to rejoin the Terps for the 2013 season.So the brothers joined forces for one last season in 2013, playing in every game together and helping lead the Terps to a 10-4 season and an appearance in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. During the three seasons and 48 games the brothers played together, they put up 71 points from 51 goals and 20 assists, plus scooped up 199 groundballs.
“People ask what my favorite memory was playing with Jesse but I don’t have just one – it’s all the seasons we played together at Maryland,” said Jake. “Getting hurt during my senior season was a blessing in disguise because it gave me the opportunity to stay for another year and play together. And I know at least for my Mom it was too. Not too many people can say they were able to do what we did so we know we are lucky to have been given that opportunity.”
After finishing their impressive college tenures, the brothers set their sights on the next step in lacrosse and joined MLL. Jake was picked up by the Ohio Machine through a trade with the Hamilton Nationals, who drafted him 12th Overall in the 2012 Collegiate Draft and retained his rights after his injury. Jesse was drafted by the Chesapeake Bayhawks 4th Overall in the 2013 Collegiate Draft. Both brothers have played in games for their respective teams this season and now each has his sights set on a win for his own team at the expense of the other this coming Saturday.
But even with the brothers going up against each other for the first time, the Bernhardt family members are staying neutral on this game. “We don't really talk about it much or really focus on it unless my little brother gets mad at one of us and tells us the other team is going to win,” said Jake.
Be sure to come out to Selby Stadium this Saturday, July 6th, at 7:30 p.m. to see this brotherly battle between the Bernhardts when the Machine takes on the 2012 MLL Champions Chesapeake Bayhawks. And don’t forget about the $2 Beer Specials!