Jamaican National Lacrosse Team Experience not Over for Monmouth College’s Gordon


MONMOUTH, IL (12/09/2019) A funny thing happened to Monmouth’s Kara-Jade Gordon (Nashville, Tenn./University School) on her way to earning a psychology degree in May. A member of the Scots’ women’s soccer and lacrosse teams, Gordon will continue her international lacrosse career after graduating.

Chosen as a member of Jamaica’s inaugural women’s lacrosse national team, Gordon and her teammates placed third at last month’s Pan-American Lacrosse Association World Qualifiers in Auburndale, Fla., earning a berth in the 2021 World Championships to be held in Maryland.

“It was really fun,” said Gordon of the qualifiers, where she led her team with 17 goals in four games. “When I got there, we were a rag-tag bunch of women who didn’t know each other and who weren’t the most organized team there. I got there for the end of the first practice, so I didn’t get on the field, but I did get to meet everyone. We had a dinner that night, then the next day we had our second practice – my first – and a game that afternoon.”

Perhaps surprisingly, Gordon’s team clipped Colombia 10-6 in the opener – just the second time Gordon had even stepped on a field in Auburndale. The next day wasn’t so kind to the Jamaicans, losing 21-3 to Haudenosaunee – a Native American team and the eventual tournament winner. Gordon’s squad rebounded that afternoon with an 18-4 win over Argentina before falling 15-5 to Puerto Rico the following day. Jamaica pulled out a harrowing 9-8 win on the final day over Mexico to take third place, punching their ticket to the world championships.

“There was some amazing talent there,” reported Gordon. “That was the highlight. I’ve never been that close to women’s lacrosse players who were WAY above my level. It was an exciting experience for me to play against so much talent and players who were much older than me.”

Although Gordon hadn’t met her teammates coming into the event, she had already seen some of her competition. Monmouth’s women’s lacrosse coach Elizabeth Demara had shown her Fighting Scots’ team a film documenting the history of lacrosse. That film featured a pair of players from the Haudenosaunee team.

“I was star struck,” admitted Gordon, laughing at the experience.

Gordon – the only Jamaican to score “against the really good teams” – made an impression on the opposition, too, after adjusting to the higher caliber of play … and to her new teammates.

“Although we had never met until that week, we really bonded as a team,” said Gordon. “Everyone was so supportive and excited to be a part of something new for Jamaica. The team chemistry was great. Everyone was happy when we scored, regardless of who scored.”

Gordon knows all about scoring, entering her final lacrosse season at Monmouth as a three-time all-conference performer and the Scots’ record-holder in all offensive categories. That’s not to mention her soccer accolades, where she finished her career as a four-time all-league selection and set the Scots’ career game-winning goal record. Gordon, a high school state champion in the 100-meter dash, used that breakaway speed to lead the soccer team in scoring this fall and earn their first-ever appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Unfortunately for Gordon, it was a tournament the gifted athlete would have to miss as the NCAA tourney and the lacrosse world qualifiers were held on the same weekend in November. Such is the life for Gordon, who received text updates on soccer from her teammates.

Monmouth women’s lacrosse coach Elizabeth Demara said that elite speed is part of what makes Gordon so special.

“Speed and athleticism,” Demara said. “Physically, that’s what sets her apart for us at the Division III level. Mentally, she has a confident, competitive nature and nothing rattles her. She has good field awareness, and with her speed, that really helps her get down the field in transition. Simply put, she’s just a good athlete.”

The lacrosse qualifier field included many NCAA Division I student-athletes as well as adults, ranging in age from the teens to players in their 40s. Gordon is building on that experience as she prepares for her final season at Monmouth this spring.

“I’m really excited about our season at Monmouth,” she said. “I’ll train for the college season, knowing I’ll have to continue training now for the world championships. I feel like I have future in lacrosse. That wasn’t something that was even on my radar before the Pan Am Qualifier.”

The numbers would support Gordon’s assessment. The speedster did her share of scoring, turning in the second-most goals (17) and third-most points (19) at the tournament. Taking third place just added to the experience, not just for Gordon, but for her Jamaican teammates.

“We’re all pretty excited for the future of lacrosse in Jamaica,” smiled Gordon, proud to be part of something new. “We’re not quite world class yet, but it’s a start.”

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