By Natalie Fiorilli | The Duquesne Duke
For Kaelin Shaw of the Duquesne women’s lacrosse team, the most rewarding aspect of being a student-athlete is the bond she has developed with her teammates.
“Everyone’s there for you,” Shaw said. “If you’re having a bad day, they’re always there to cheer you up, and they’re right alongside of you to share your successes as well. We’re always hanging out and it really is a core group of family and friends that we get to experience.”
This close relationship with her teammates has even boosted her performance on the field, according to the junior. The attacker led the Dukes last season, in both the points and goals category.
Along with scoring 37 goals and tallying 48 points, Shaw was named to the 2015 Atlantic 10 All-Conference Team. She was even honored as a member of the 2014 A-10 All-Rookie Team as a freshman.
“It was an amazing feeling,” Shaw said. “I truly didn’t expect it, but I couldn’t have done it without the help of my teammates, and the coaches that really did support me and push me to be the best I can be.”
The Laurel, Maryland, native was also second on the team in the assists column last year, contributing 11 total, and in a victory over St. Bonaventure, Shaw set a new career-best, finding the back of the net six times.
In her years at Duquesne, Shaw has made the transition from midfielder to attack, which she explained has enhanced her confidence on the field. This change in position allowed for Shaw to focus less on the defensive angle of the game, giving her the opportunity to produce more offensively.
Considering her growth as a player just in her first two seasons, Coach Mike Scerbo will rely on Shaw to be a front-runner for the Dukes this season.
“[Shaw] is our go-to kid on offense,” Scerbo said. “She is a proven goal scorer that we will expect to put up numbers each time out. She is going to have to be a leader by example and help the [freshmen] learn how to play a DI schedule.”
Now that the 2016 season is officially underway, expect to see Shaw raise the bar even higher, setting new career highs on the field. In fact, the junior aims to record at least 50 points this spring.
Most importantly, Shaw hopes to serve as a mentor for a Duquesne team consisting of mostly underclassmen.
“I think a big part of my role this year is kind of developing other players,” Shaw said.
Only halfway through her Duquesne career, Shaw has plenty of time to enjoy playing lacrosse and spending time with her teammates. In the meantime, she will also work toward a degree in biology, with the intention of working in physical therapy upon graduation.
Sophomore and fellow attack Jill Vacanti, emphasized Shaw’s ability to remain positive and focused as a leader on the team.
“If we are down, she steps up her game that much more, and it gets our energy up as a whole,” Vacanti said. “Although you never want to put all your pressure on one player, she has proven she has what it takes to make our team that much more competitive in the conference.”