On Saturday, November 6, 2021, Gordon College Fighting Scots brought home the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Women’s Soccer championship title for the first time since 1998. The final match, played at home against the Roger Williams University Hawks, ended in a clean 1 – 0 victory to Gordon. Barring the cancelled 2020 season, the Fighting Scots have consistently been CCC runners-up or regular season winners almost every year since 2012. This year marks a turning point in team history, elevating Gordon College Women’s Soccer from frustrated second place to victorious champion status.
Returning from a year of social distancing and emotional struggle, the Fighting Scots faced a challenging start to the season. The lack of a 2020 season meant the team missed vital competition as well as bonding which typically comes from normal team life. Yet, the curse became a blessing as the pandemic re-focused the team to the true goals of the game, making them ready to apply the lessons from previous years’ disappointments.
“A word that we use a lot – our slogan – is the word ‘uncommon’” captain Christa Vordenberg (#22) explained. “I felt like this year was the first year that I could really say…everybody was on the same level of commitment, from the freshmen to the seniors. Everybody was there. Going through Covid and so much uncertainty and losing things you never expected to lose brought so much more value to the game, to the team, and to the program.”
The early regular season victory against the Endicott Gulls proved instrumental to centering the Fighting Scots’ attention on the path to the championship. Since 2017, the Fighting Scots had lost every women’s soccer game against the Gulls, making them an intimidating opponent to lace up against.
“When we beat them, it proved to us that we could do anything”, said Vordenberg.
In seasons past, the Fighting Scots battled a number of serious injuries resulting from physically aggressive matches against the likes of Curry College and Roger Williams University. Vordenberg stated that the desire not to be knocked down provided the Fighting Scots with the edge to bring full energy to every aspect of the game.
“This is the first season I have been at Gordon when someone didn’t have a surgery, a tear – no joke. We always have ACLs, concussions, calf comparment syndrome…we joke that our team is cursed because we always end up getting injured, but we were blessed this year”, Vordenberg said, knocking wood. Gordon suffered no serious injuries this season.
Captain Emily Rodriguez (#10) attributed much of the team’s success to a culture of equality and encouragement among players.
“As seniors, as captains, I think we wanted to make the team all the way to the freshmen feel like they too had a voice, and that we valued what they needed to say…. I think we did a good job of making it known to the underclassmen that you don’t need a captain’s band on your leg or arm to speak up and to be a leader on the team.”
This uplifting spirit filtered down to the rest of the student body; fan turnout to the championship final was the greatest either captain had ever seen in their four-year careers at Gordon College. Vordenberg and Rodriguez expressed their gratitude for the support from the student body and encouraged their underclassmen.
“Never take a moment for granted because it flies by”, Rodriguez said. “I never would have thought in my freshman year that a season would be taken away from me. The times that you get, cherish those moments…because there will be no other time you are surrounded by believers and people always encouraging you.”
Vordenberg added, “This season, this year, has just been unbelievable….I am so thankful to the student body, my professors, and our president who showed up to so many of our games….It’s an honor to play for this school and it’s an honor to be on this team. We are one big GoCoWoSo family whether you’re on the field or you’re not….We showed everyone that we can do this in Christ who strengthens us.”