Pittsburgh Passion features athletes from Duquesne

Courtesy Pittsburgh Passion Rachel Wojdowski is in her third year with the Pittsburgh Passion. Wojdowski is also the director of basketball operations for the Duquesne women’s basketball team.

Julian Routh | Asst. News Editor

When the Pittsburgh Passion women’s outdoor spring football team takes the field to begin their 2013 season next month, two Duquesne women will wear their red-and-blue school pride behind black-and-gold team jerseys.
In her third season as wide receiver is Rachel Wojdowski, Duquesne women’s basketball director of operations, and in her first year with the Passion at linebacker, junior forensic science and law major Megan Marshall.
Helping the team to an 8-2 record last year, Wojdowski had 29 receptions for 540 yards and a team-leading 10 touchdowns. In 2011, when the Passion made it to the National Conference Quarterfinals, she led the team in catches (17), yards (350) and touchdowns (8).
Putting statistics aside, Wojdowski stays humble, crediting her success as a receiver to the offense around her.
“We have an amazing quarterback, and having Amanda [Haeg] on the other side of the field doesn’t allow the defense to focus on one person,” she said. “We can spread the field … It always keeps the defense guessing.”
Before playing with the Passion and working at Duquesne, Wojdowski played basketball overseas for five years in Holland, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Bulgaria. Two ACLs and a back surgery later, she said she did not originally want to play football, but Haeg, who was then a trainer at Duquesne, and chiropractor Vince Morreale convinced her.
“I’m glad they did,” Wojdowski said. “The team is great. There’s great people on it. Fun to be around.”
Marshall, in her rookie year, originally trained at tight end, then moved to fullback. Now, she hopes to earn the starting job at outside linebacker.
Her interest in football began at Indiana Area Senior High School in Indiana, Pa., where she played quarterback for the school’s powderpuff flag football team. Playing for the Passion is “definitely different,” and more competitive, Marshall said.
On top of school work and football, Marshall is a basketball manager for the Duquesne women’s squad. Putting doubts to rest, she said she has been able to balance her priorities “really well.”
“It works out because I have class during the day and then practice at night, and I do homework in between,” Marshall said.
Being one of the younger players, Marshall said that though she has “a lot to learn,” she is confident she can compete with the older, more experienced players.
“It’s not age in this sport. It’s just your talent and ability to play,” Marshall said. “Some of our best players are the younger girls.”
The Passion will open their 2013 season against the D.C. Divas on April 6 in the newly constructed Highmark Field in Station Square. Marshall said she is “very excited to see what we can do.”
“After months of practicing, I’m ready to get out there and compete,” Marshall said. “The Passion are definitely a force to be reckoned with. We have so much talent on the team and we set our goals high this year.”
Wojdowski, who has only seen three losses during her tenure with the team, said she thinks the Passion are in the “upper echelon” of teams in the Women’s Football Alliance.
“We just have to stay healthy throughout the season and get better each day in practice,” Wojdowski said. “We definitely do have the talent.”