Aurora Cordingley, Other Young Team Canada Stars Idolize Dana Dobbie


Aurora Cordingley was a Tewaaraton Award finalist in 2022 as Maryland's leading scorer.

When Dana Dobbie says that she’s been there and done that, she’s probably right.

The 2022 World Lacrosse Women’s World Championship in Towson, Md., will be Dobbie’s fourth senior world championship. She was supposed to play in 2005, but she had ankle surgery and couldn’t participate, so her first event was in 2009. She also competed for Canada in the 2003 U19 world championships.

Dobbie, hailed worldwide as one of the best draw takers in history, can relate to the newcomers. They might be a little green, but they have that same awe, starstruck look in their eyes that she had as a new player in the program getting to play with the likes of Jen Johnson and Lindsey Hart.

“There’s one tryout that stuck out to me,” Dobbie said. “It was my first senior tryout. It was maybe freshman year of college. Everyone was so much bigger, stronger and faster. I was just like, ‘Where’s my place on this team going to be?’ From the beginning, there was no age gap or seniority. That’s not part of our team. It was just about finding the right players for the right positions.”

That wasn’t a temporary mantra for Canada. It’s withstood the test of time, new coaching staffs and new team leaders. If you’re on the team, you deserve to be there. Period.

“I can just remember back to when there were only a couple very skilled players, but we had incredible athletes surrounding that skill,” Dobbie said. “Now we have such a strong balance between the two. This team is probably the deepest and most well-rounded from lacrosse to experience to athleticism than we’ve ever had before.”

Aurora Cordingley is part of the next wave of Canadian greats. A Tewaaraton Award finalist as a graduate student at Maryland, Cordingley isn’t an out-of-this-world presence. She’s a cerebral player with an eye for making the right pass and the sense of when to dodge past her defender. It’s players like her who have Dobbie so excited for the program’s future.

Cordingley’s been in the program for a while. She was part of the Canadian U19 team that stunned the U.S. team in the 2015 gold medal game in Edinburgh, Scotland, played against the U.S. team at last October’s Fall Classic and has either competed against or interacted with several of the U.S. team’s stars during her collegiate career, which began at Johns Hopkins.

Despite the exposure to such a high caliber of athletes and coaches, Cordingley still can’t get over the fact that she gets to share the field with Dobbie.

“She’s the [greatest of all time],” Cordingley said. “She just knows where the ball is going on the draw. She’ll be like, ‘Stand over there’ and the ball just happens to go right there. It’s really been amazing to play with Dana Dobbie. She has the perspective of a coach on the field. I’ve learned a lot.”

Despite their age difference (Dobbie graduated from Maryland in 2008; Cordingley just graduated in May), Dobbie and Cordingley share a similar experience — beating the United States.

Cordingley, of course, did so in 2015. Dobbie was able to thwart the U.S. Sixes team in an exhibition at the last Fall Classic. A different discipline, sure, but Dobbie thinks that win could have wide-ranging consequences.

The small-sided format lends itself to quick passing in tight spaces, a Canadian style of play resembling box lacrosse.

“If we play a more Canadian style of lacrosse and we don’t try to play the U.S. style, there’s something special there,” Dobbie said. “Backyard lacrosse style. In the past, we’ve tried to play them at their own game.”

Dobbie won’t call it a rivalry between Canada and the U.S. “At some point, you have to beat them for it to be a rivalry,” she said. But could that success in Sixes lead to an upset bid?

Canada enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed and looks to build upon the silver medal it won at the 2017 World Cup. Dobbie is the headliner on the roster, but Kaylin Morissette is also a veteran making her third appearance on the senior team. Morissette also coached the 2019 U19 team that won a silver medal.

Like Cordingley, a collection of players enter the event after successful college seasons — Kameron Halsall (Stony Brook), Brooklyn Walker-Welch (North Carolina), Bianca Chevarie (Syracuse), Alie Jimerson (Syracuse) and others chief among them.

There’s even a top-flight high school talent in Jillian McNaughton, a future Johns Hopkins midfielder.

Whatever the age, experience level or position, expect everyone on Canada’s 20-player roster to make an impact. It’s something Dobbie prides herself on carrying on after her former idols did the same for her.

In many ways, Dobbie is bridging the gap between eras for Canada. She doesn’t know when she’ll hang up her cleats, but for as long as she dons the red and white, she wants to be sure the youngest player feels just as important as the oldest.

“You’d be on the same field with them and just be so nervous to even talk to them,” Dobbie recalled of her first Team Canada experience, “and then you’re playing alongside them. The fact that Aurora said that about me, I’ve been in her position.”


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