Pembroke resident makes most of trip to Deaf Olympics

Written by Dave Palana
Thursday, 01 October 2009

Celebrated student-athlete Shaquana “Shaq” McDonough, of Pembroke, Mass., led the U.S. women’s soccer team to a gold medal at the Deaflympics in September and then made a winning return to D.C.C.

The Bison won the first game of McDonough’s return from the Deaflympics in Taipei, Taiwan, and she led the team to another victory on October 8. In that game, the freshman forward pulled a hat trick, scoring all three goals to defeat Lancaster Bible College. Teammates Maddie Morgan (a midfielder), and goalies Kara Gulvas and Casey McCullough helped pull off the win.C

McDonough’s hometown paper, the Pembroke Express, featured the talented player in a recent article, reprinted below.

There’s no rest for the weary, even if they are a gold medalist

After Shaquana McDonough won a gold medal with the U.S. women’s Deaf Olympic soccer team in Taipei, Taiwan, she returned to Pembroke for less than a week, then suited up for her new team, the Gallaudet University Bisons, in a 1-0 win over Trinity on Sept. 21. On Sunday, she scored her first college goal in a loss to Mary Washington.

10.2-shaqMcDonough missed the first six games of the Bisons’ season because of the Deaflympics, where she competed in the track events in addition to soccer. The women’s team wrapped up their gold medal on Sept. 15 with a 4-0 win over Germany and received their medals the next day.

“It was amazing,” McDonough said of winning the gold in an e-mail interview from college. “I had worked really hard to earn my dream to be on the Deaf Olympic team, and we got the gold! It was really special because fans with 88 different schools came to support us, and I feel almost famous and honored. It was special for me and the team.”

The U.S. team had beat Germany handily early in the Deaflympics, but the gold medal match was much closer than the 4-0 score, as all four American goals came in the second half.

“Germany worked harder than they did in the first game,” McDonough said. “[In the end], we played more physical and showed more desire in the game. We tried to prove our coach [Ken MacDonald] and our country that we are representing USA.”

The Toughest Opponent

The team had an easy time in the early stages of the games with their first 4-0 win over Germany and a 7-0 thumping of Denmark. The only goal they allowed in the games came during a 2-1 semifinal win over Great Britain.

“I think Great Britain was the toughest opponent,” McDonough said. “They were very physical and fast.”

McDonough also had time to enjoy Taipei City during her time at the Deaflympics, supporting the other American teams at the games, getting in some shopping, and taking in the culture.

“Taipei was totally different from here,” she said. “We really enjoyed it. People seemed more easygoing, not all stressed.”

McDonough still has at least 11 more soccer games with the Bisons, and possibly more if they advance in the postseason tournament. She doesn’t plan to sit still long, as she will suit up for the Washington, D.C.-based school’s women’s basketball team while studying physical education.

While the Deaflympics are now behind her, McDonough said she will never forget how Pembroke residents supported her in one of her biggest challenges: raising the money to get to Taipei.

“I want to thank everyone that helped donate and buy raffle tickets so that I could go,” she said. “I will carry it in my heart forever.”

(Reprinted with permission of the Pembroke Express)

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