SHRUB OAK, N.Y. – Raquel Nieves, senior captain of Lakeland/Panas, will continue her lacrosse career at La Salle University (Philadelphia).
“I decided to play lacrosse at La Salle University because the coaching staff and team made everyone feel welcome, and it felt like one big family,” said Nieves, who is a midfielder for the Rebels. “I feel I could do my best at La Salle, academically and athletically.”
Nieves is looking to accomplish many things at the next level.
“I am excited to learn and improve from new coaches and new teammates,” Nieves said. “I am hoping to help the team in every way I can.”
Nieves has done everything she can to stay in shape during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has brought the sports world to a halt.
“The coaching staff at La Salle has been posting at home workouts so players can keep up their skills,” Nieves said. “I am also training at home with a Beachbody program and following Shaun T., the fitness trainer. Going on runs and working out is helping me stay busy at home.”
As much as she is looking forward to playing at La Salle, Nieves still badly wants to put her Lakeland/Panas uniform on at least one more time.
“I would love to play my last season with the Rebels,” Nieves said. “I am still holding on to some hope we can play one last game.”
Nieves is also part of the training program for the Puerto Rico Women’s National Senior Team, which is preparing for the Federation of International Lacrosse Women’s World Cup.
That is scheduled to take place July 7-17, 2021, at Towson University, in Towson, Md.
“Training was supposed to start in May, but it has been delayed,” Nieves said. “Being able to represent my island means so much to me and my family. I am honored to do it again.”
In August, Nieves played on the first Puerto Rico lacrosse team that competed in the Under 19 World Championships in Ontario, Canada.
Nieves said the experience was unforgettable.
“I made amazing friendships with all of my teammates. All the families still keep in touch,” Nieves said. “I was able to interact with lacrosse players from around the world. We even ended up cheering on other teams during our breaks because we built friendships outside of our own team. It was special to see so many different cultures come together to play lacrosse. I was proud and thankful to be able to represent my heritage.”
Playing at an event on the international stage taught Nieves a lot of things.
“My coaches, Natalie Bermudez and Sophia Lugo, made me a stronger lacrosse player by teaching me new skills and techniques to improve my game,” Nieves said. “They also taught me how to carry myself when I am playing on a bigger stage. The coaching staff made sure we knew how special this opportunity was and to have pride when representing our island.”
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