WLAX beats GW, earns third win in a row

Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics | Duquesne’s Alana Piano — seen here in a March 25 contest — scored three goals in the Dukes’ come-from-behind victory against George Washington on Saturday.

by Benjamin Gottschalk | staff writer

April 23, 2022

Despite trailing with less than a minute remaining, the Duquesne women’s lacrosse team used two goals in 15 seconds from Delaney Rodriguez-Shaw and Sam King in a 15-14, come-from-behind victory at George Washington on Saturday afternoon.

The win was the Dukes’ third in a row and put them in range to earn a spot in the Atlantic 10 Women’s Lacrosse Championship, which will begin on April 28 in Amherst, Mass.

After holding a 3-1 advantage at the end of the first quarter and a 7-6 edge at halftime,  Duquesne began to fall behind. From the start of the third quarter until the 10:11 mark in the fourth quarter, George Washington scored eight of the game’s 11 goals, watching a one-goal deficit turn into a four-goal lead (14-10).

With the game seemingly out of reach, goals from Jillian Caroselli, Mackenzie Leszczynski and Alana Piano brought the Dukes to within a goal with just under seven minutes to go in the game.

As time continued to tick away, Rodriguez-Shaw scored the game-tying goal with 40 seconds left in the game. In a rapid series of events, Rodriguez-Shaw immediately won the ensuing draw after her tying goal.

“My initial thought after I scored was ‘I have to win this draw not only for myself, but for my team,’” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “Because to me, whoever won that draw, they were going to win the game, and I put it on myself that it was my responsibility to win us that game.”

Just 15 seconds later, the ball found its way to King, who had come in to support Rodriguez-Shaw. King drove to the net and scored what would be the game-winning goal with just 25 seconds left on the clock.

“I think it was a great shot, and she really helped me out after winning that draw control when I was getting swarmed by GW players,” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “I knew that I could trust that she would go and score for us.”

Immediately after scoring what would eventually be the decisive goal, Duquesne Head Coach Corinne Desrosiers called a timeout.

During the stoppage, King said that Desrosiers told the team that as long as they gained possession off of the draw and worked their hardest for the last few seconds, they’d come out on top. While the Colonials won the draw, they were unable to net a tying goal.

Piano, a senior who scored three goals of her own in Duquesne’s victory, said that she was proud of Rodriguez-Shaw and King, who are both freshmen.

“These girls are great lacrosse players and are a great asset to our team,” Piano said. “They have a bright future ahead of them. It was extremely exciting being out there with them to help us to win the game.”

Piano also added that Desrosiers was impressed with the team’s fourth-quarter rally.

“After the game, [Coach Desrosiers] expressed how proud she was of us to finish out this game in a win and that we showed perseverance right up until the end,” Piano said.

In addition to Piano, Duquesne had three additional players that scored three goals in the victory: Rodriguez-Shaw, King and Leszczynski.

“I think this win shows that we are a good lacrosse team,” Piano said. “In the beginning of conference games, we had some shortcomings, but we are finally clicking, and it’s showing through these wins.”

With just one game left in the regular season, the Dukes have a legitimate path to earning a spot in next week’s A-10 tournament. The event takes the conference’s top six seeds.

Duquesne is currently tied with VCU and La Salle (all are 3-5) for the fifth seed, but tiebreaking procedures place the Dukes in the sixth and final spot for the time being.

“These last three wins have been huge for our momentum, [and for] trying to secure a playoff spot,” King said. “Making playoffs would be amazing for us as a team, especially for us freshmen to experience A-10s [in] our first year at Duquesne.”

While a lot can happen on Saturday, the final day of A-10 regular-season action, the Dukes can only control the task in front of them.

That task comes in the form of a trip to Olean, N.Y., to take on St. Bonaventure this Saturday afternoon. The Bonnies are 0-8 in A-10 action.

“I think our success is generating now because we know playoffs were on the line, and we all want that trip to Massachusetts for playoffs.” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “But I also think now that the pressure has been on us, it has helped us a lot, as a team, to finally figure out how to play as a whole, offensively and defensively, which teams will find very intimidating coming into conference playoffs.”

Piano said that earning a spot in the A-10 tournament for the first time since 2019 would “mean everything to Duquesne.”