Officials whistled the Dirigo High School senior for myriad infractions during he team’s preseason field hockey tilts, including a yellow card for having her stick too high in a dangerous position.

“Skill-wise, she’s pretty raw,” Dirigo coach Gretchen Errington said. “She’ll still lift her stick, and some of the officials were getting mad.

“But she hasn’t played for four years. She’s played for two weeks.”

Two weeks of formal field hockey training isn’t normally enough time to get a player — even an athletic senior — ready for game action in a conference as tough as the Mountain Valley Conference.

But Daoud’s case is far from normal.

“She’s just an unbelievable athlete,” Errington said. “For her to switch her senior year and not even know if she’d play, that was gutsy.”


The switch to which Errington refers is that from soccer, where Daoud was a standout player, to field hockey, a move precipitated by best friend and fellow field hockey captain Emma Lueders.

“Emma’s been trying to get me to play for some time,” Daoud said, breaking into a smile. “They have this thing where, if you recruit someone, you get out of a running drill, so I thought I would do her a solid and help her out.”

“I haven’t sat out of a drill yet,” Lueders quickly interjected. “And the more players, the better.”

Things didn’t start out so well for Daoud. While she was clearly an athlete, she had never studied the game, and knew little of the rules, some of which are tough to follow even with long-term training.

“She came this summer; she was hacking, she was obstructing,” Errington said. “She was wicked frustrated, but she kept right on going.

“When she started this summer, she’d come into games, and the girls would laugh a little,” Errington added, “but I turned around and said, ‘She’s going to play every second of every game if she plays like that, because she will not give up.'”


The biggest adjustment, Daoud said, has nothing to do with the stick, though.

“The biggest thing to me is, you can’t box out when you want the ball,” Daoud said. “You can’t shield the other person when you’re trying to get around, which is a huge challenge, because you can do that in every other sport.”

Like soccer. Or basketball, in which she participates during the winter months.

But what Daoud lacks in technical skill, she makes up for with raw ability and energy.

“She can read the field, she talks, communicates out there,” Errington said. “She’s strong, and I show her something once, she gets it. She has Y-dodge down pat and she’s so fast. We played on turf the other day, and she stood out like she’d been playing for years because she’s so fast. All she had to do was hit it and go get it.

“I’m looking at her for energy on the field; she gets this team going,” Errington added. “Her energy is unbelievable. She goes to the ball, she’s aggressive on defense. I’m glad to have her.”


So is the rest of the team.

“I’m excited, everybody’s excited,” Lueders said. “This is a good group of girls. I’m really excited for this season. Everybody has worked really hard, and to have an extra player like her is never a bad thing.”

“They voted her as a captain,” Errington pointed out. “We have seven seniors, four of them got chosen to be captain, and she was one of them. I think that says a lot about her right there.”

Not bad for a soccer player who didn’t know whether she would even make the team.

“I didn’t have any expectations. I just wanted to have fun,” Daoud said. “I don’t think it’s a bad thing to try something new, but it’s been nice. It was a perfect environment to come into. They were very accepting.”

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