ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Even after starring at the club and high school level, Christina Ordonez still needed time to adjust to Big Ten soccer.
The York grad, who is the school’s all-time leading scorer, is entering her second season at Michigan. In her freshman season, she saw regular action, but wasn’t featured as prominently and had to adjust to the new role.
“It was definitely different for me because it was a lot faster pace, but I had a great experience and I had a lot of fun,” Ordonez said. “I ended up really, really enjoying my first year and I got a good amount of playing time for a freshman.”
Instead of playing up top at forward like she did with the Dukes, which allowed her to score goals in bunches, Ordonez played her club position of midfield with the Wolverines. It’s the position she said she feels most comfortable with. During the offseason she has been training out wide in both the midfield and defense.
Her versatility will help her get on the field for the Wolverines, which had a 16-5-3 record and made the NCAA Sweet 16 last fall despite having just three seniors on the roster. Ordonez played in 16 of Michigan’s 24 matches and saw playing time in the NCAA Tournament.
“It’s definitely a really competitive atmosphere and practice is tough, but it’s nice because you really do have to work for your spot,” she said. “It was a really cool experience to get that far in the tournament. It was cool to be a part of the tournament.”
Despite playing further from goal than she did in high school, Ordonez still found the back of the net twice for Michigan. She said scoring her first career goal was the highlight of her season.
Ordonez said the day-to-day commitment and hours put into soccer was the bigger adjustment from her club and high school days. All the games and travel throughout her youth career were trumped by the work and training Michigan demands.
“I think it’s definitely a lot different than club because it was so much more intense and so much more soccer,” Ordonez said. “When you’re not doing soccer you’re doing weightlifting and other fitness things.”
Ordonez hopes to earn more playing time and thinks the Wolverines can be even better this fall. Her early impressions of the new squad have been positive, and she’s thinking big: Big Ten champs and a Final Four appearance.
“We have a lot of good players, and we had a really good freshmen class come in, which has made it that much more competitive in practice,” she said.