Fordham Dodgeball Defeats Gonzaga

Bermudez and Murray shine, carry Rams to first national championship since 1947.

By KREENA VORA, Taxes & Boredom Editor

The Fordham co-ed dodgeball team defeated the Gonzaga University (GU) Bulldogs for the first time in the Dodgeball National Championship held in New York City last Friday, March 25, in a massive upset. Even though Gonzaga was heavily favored to win, at the last minute, Fordham did what no team has done before: They managed to send all of GU’s players to jail before the clock ran out. The Rams, a team destined for mediocrity, left the finals victorious. 

In recent years, Fordham’s dodgeball team has seen great success under the guidance of Head Coach Patrick Moquin Jr. and the leadership of Captain Gabriella Bermudez, Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC) ’25. The Rams made it to the regional finals last year, where they were eventually defeated by NYU, their bitter rivals. In previous years, however, making it to the national championship was a pipe dream that most fans still can’t believe came true. In 75 years, the program never came close.

In the opening minutes of the match, Christopher Murray, FCLC ’24, and the team’s premier striker, took out three Bulldogs with razor-sharp tosses. The Bulldogs retaliated by eliminating Aurelien Clavaud, FCLC ’25, a newer player whose arm is like a cannon but who could use some work on his dodge. This loss would come to have severe consequences for the Rams during the first half of the game. 

Fordham fans jumped to their feet as Murray, Clavaud, and the rest of the team ran back onto the court.

There was a lull in developments for about five minutes, as both teams aimed poorly and completely whiffed their shots. Taking Fordham’s weak throwing game as an opportunity, Gonzaga regrouped and came out strong. Without Clavaud and his skill, Murray was left to hold down the fort. Bermudez did her best to help, dodging some well-aimed pelts by the Bulldogs.

Everyone’s eyes were on Murray, and with five minutes left in the first half, along with some fancy footwork on display, the all-star was expected to lead the team to halftime. But then Hailey Greene, GU ’23, took to the center of the court. Ball in hand, she launched a bullet — easily traveling at an incredible 59 miles per hour — straight at Murray’s knees. Before Murray could jump out of the way, and before the rest of the team knew what was happening, he suffered a hit on his left shin. A crowd filled with Bulldog fans chanted at the Fordham team’s incredible loss. 

The Rams, still shell-shocked by Murray’s departure, gave Gonzaga players an opportunity to pelt the Fordham team in a coordinated attack. The Bulldogs seized the opening and took out three more players, leaving only Bermudez. 

Bermudez, standing alone on a life-or-death court, began to evaluate her options. She had an apathetic look that eventually faded into ruthless determination. 

Taking advantage of an esoteric rule, Bermudez aimed for a basketball hoop across the court. Denton Twine, GU ’24, sprinted toward the hoop in an attempt to catch the shot, which would doom Bermudez to walk off the court. 

To make matters worse for Fordham, as the ball flew through the air, Bermudez’s jersey was grazed by another throw made by Greene. The referee ruled her out.

“All credit goes to the players. This is really a dream come true for me and the highlight of my career so far.”Patrick Moquin, Jr., head dodgeball coach

All eyes were on the ball shot by Bermudez — she needed to land the basket just for Fordham to stay in the game. After what felt like an eon, but was really just another second, it did. Fordham fans jumped to their feet as Murray, Clavaud, and the rest of the team ran back onto the court. Even Moquin, who had stayed stoic and expressionless this entire time, cracked a grin, clearly proud of the new captain.

Still, Fisher caught the ball, so Bermudez had to walk off the court as her teammates walked back on.

The second half of the game was much less suspenseful. Murray took the first chance he had to take out Greene. Clavaud and Gus Dupree, FCLC ’22, dodged and threw well. Bermudez, back in after a lucky catch by a Clavaud, continued to shine. With less than four minutes left on the clock, all of the Bulldogs were out, and Fordham’s team was able to celebrate this historic victory. 

In an interview after the match, Moquin admitted that even he “didn’t think these kids would do so well. All credit goes to the players. This is really a dream come true for me and the highlight of my career so far.” 

Fordham dodgeball fans will remember this day for years to come. Bermudez had proven herself as captain; Murray remained the fan favorite; and Clavaud had shown much improvement between the first and second halves of the game. If the Rams have more performances like this, there are likely to be many more dodgeball finals in their future.