The Duo Defending the Net for Rowan Lacrosse

Mel Rodgers in goal in a game earlier this season. Rodgers and fellow goalie Reilly Shaup have averaged 9.30 saves per game this season. Saturday, March 26, 2022. - Multimedia Editor / Lee Kotzen

On a lacrosse field, there are multiple position groups that make up each team.

Attacks, defenders and midfielders all work in unison with 11 players on the field together; however, the goalkeeper is a position that only features one player under center at a time. 

While it can get very lonely in the net at times, the goalkeeping squad on a team tends to be the most tight-knitted group of them all.

That has happened within the Rowan women’s lacrosse program, as senior Reilly Shaup and junior Mel Rodgers have emerged as one of the prominent goalie duos in the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC).

Shaup, who has started in nine games for the Profs this season, is coming off one of her best performances to date. Against Cabrini University on Saturday, April 2, she had 16 saves and was credited for the victory after her team won 17-16 in overtime. She made two fourth-quarter saves that helped force overtime. 

When Shaup is not playing, Mel Rodgers steps in for a taste of time in the net. She has played in five of the games this year, including a start against the University of Scranton on Wednesday, March 23. 

While both players have made plenty of big plays for their team, their combined effort has helped keep Rowan afloat at 4-6. As a unit, they rank third in the NJAC for average saves at 9.3 a game. 

Both players have credited each other for the successes that both of them have had throughout the season.

“It is always nice to have someone that supports you, even if they aren’t on the field with you,” Shaup said. “In practice, we look at each other and will either say ‘you got this’ or ‘step up a little more.’ It has never been a bad atmosphere between us, and it is a great thing to always have someone push you.”

Rogers echoed similar words about how she feels about Shaup as a teammate and leader.

“There have been times where I had to go in mid-game,” Rodgers said. “I’ll do what I need to do to help my team, but she has always been supportive no matter what. We just do whatever we need to do to help get the win.”

While both players admire and support each other, they are also looking to compete with each other. Whether it is in practice or in games, that competition is believed to bring out the best in both of them.

“They are secretly competitive but outwardly supportive,” Head Coach Lindsay Delaney said. “I think that’s the best combination. Goalkeeping is hard, so when you’re solidified as a goalkeeper and competing for only one spot, it can be daunting. For them to be supportive of each other while also competing and making the other better is something special.”

Both Rodgers and Shaup will continue their 2022 campaigns in the next coming weeks, as Rowan will have six straight NJAC matchups to close out the regular season. No matter which goalkeeper will be in the net for the Profs, opposing teams are likely going to have a hard time putting up goals against Rowan.

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