Luke Henne | Sports Editor
March 3, 2022
In the early part of the season, Delaney Rodriguez-Shaw is leading the offensive attack for the Duquesne women’s lacrosse team, having already recorded 13 points (nine goals and four assists).
Through her confidence and composure, however, it’d be hard to tell that she’s only played five games at the collegiate level.
“I see myself as the coach on the field,” Rodriguez-Shaw told The Duke. “I’ll cut through so someone can drive. I think I see the visual of the field very well. If someone’s cutting, I can anticipate that cut. I see the field very well and I speak up on the field for everyone.”
Rodriguez-Shaw, despite her instant success, remains humble and recognizes that she’ll have to earn everything she wants on the field.
“I had to prove myself,” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “Just working with the great team that I have, the great leaders that I have on our team, I just fit right in. [It’s] just [about] continuing to prove that I’m supposed to be out there and working hard for my team.”
In two games against Youngstown State (Feb. 14) and Kent State (Feb. 20), Rodriguez-Shaw recorded seven goals and two assists. For her efforts, she was named the Atlantic 10 Women’s Lacrosse Rookie of the Week on Feb. 22, becoming the first Duquesne player to earn the accolade since Jill Vacanti in 2015.
“I was super happy,” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “We put in the hours through the week and doing extra hours on the side. Whether it’s just going to play wall ball or just shooting around, it’s the extra things that help me get to where I am.
“All the hard stuff we do in practice and the hard pressure that [Head Coach Corinne Desrosiers] puts on — in a good way — also helped me get there.”
After falling 16-7 at Bucknell on Wednesday, the Dukes are 2-3 on the young season. Rodriguez-Shaw knows that upcoming games against big-name programs like Ohio State will be a good test for the team.
“We have to go in like we are as good as them,” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “Whether it’s [against] a great team or not, skill-wise, as great, we have to go into every game thinking we deserve to be here and this is our game.”
The native of Longmeadow, Mass., has acclimated to life in Pittsburgh, but it took some time.
“I’m a big home body,” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “It was difficult not being with my family and doing family dinners with my whole family on Sundays, but I got used to it.”
Comradery with her teammates has helped make the transition easier.
“We have a great connection on and off the field,” Rodriguez-Shaw said, laughing. “Living with all of my best friends in the dorms is awesome. It’s pure chaos.”
Although lacrosse takes up much of her time, she said that one of her favorite aspects of Pittsburgh culture is “definitely the food festivals.”
However, sports are a close second, even during her down time. Although she grew up a New England Patriots fan, she attended her first NFL game when the Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Seattle Seahawks in October.
In 2019, during her pre-college playing career, she represented the U19 Puerto Rican National Team at an event in Peterborough, Ontario, where her team won eight games in eight days.
“It was awesome. Through my team, my coaches and all the parents supporting, it was an amazing experience,” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “It was just so much fun and it was a great way to tap into my culture because coming from Massachusetts and where I live, there’s not many Puerto Ricans around.”
Rodriguez-Shaw, who double majors in psychology and Spanish, has high hopes for what her post-athletic career entails.
“My dream job is to be in behavioral analysis in the FBI,” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “My mom is high up in social work. She’s worked with FBI agents and report officers.
“The crime point of view of it and the forensics point of view of it, I think is so interesting. And then I’m [also] majoring in Spanish to become bilingual because it puts me ahead of other candidates who may want to go into the FBI, but also, being bilingual is an advantage and a life skill.”
She felt that Duquesne was the ideal place to hone in on her academic interests and athletic capabilities.
“There were other schools [that I considered], but the campus is just one that I loved,” Rodriguez-Shaw said. “I remember when I was looking at other schools, I was like, ‘No, that brick is ugly. I don’t like that.’ I was very specific, but when I came here, I was like, ‘I can fit right in here.’ I loved it.
“I knew I’d be challenged enough to put pressure on myself, so I think all around, when I came here, I knew it was going to be a good fit for me.”