Michaela Counsellor never liked sports.
She had long participated in musicals, loved to sing and dance, and had a passion for the arts.
So three years ago when she was a freshman at Clearview High School, she never saw herself being where she is now: the voice of the field hockey team and a clear leader as the last line of defense, back in the cage.
The senior goalie is a force to be reckoned with on the field, blocking high shots, making split saves, going down for slide tackles, and playing aggressively and fearlessly, coach Brittany Ewan said.
"I was never really a sports person," said Counsellor, who seemed to pick up the sport naturally. "I didn't know how great it was until I actually started playing."
It wasn't until the ninth grade that she was persuaded by a cousin to try the sport.
"I went out for it and was a little hesitant," said Counsellor, now a team captain. "When I started, I actually didn't like it at all in the beginning."
But she promised her mother that she would stick with it for a little longer - she was raised to believe that once you start something, you have to finish it.
And now, she couldn't be happier to be finishing her final year strong. She has been a stalwart in goal for the Pioneers, who are 7-1-1 and have outscored opponents by 26-9.
"She's a hard worker, and she gives 110 percent all the time no matter what drill we're doing," Ewan said of Counsellor, who is known to participate in conditioning drills with her gear on.
On the field, Counsellor consistently communicates with her teammates, guiding them on defense and offense by using her view of the field to provide her team with a clear sense of direction.
"I'm a huge talker on and off the field," Counsellor said. "I love to talk, and I'm just here to help the team."
Counsellor, whose mother always tells her to stop talking so much and watch the ball, enjoys being the person to motivate her teammates and pump them up so they come out strong.
And in a sport that prides itself on teamwork and chemistry, it's imperative to have a leader in the back with the characteristics of the Pioneers goalie.
"She's just a pleasure to coach," Ewan said. "She's a coach's dream to have. She's a great kid inside and out, on the field, off the field. She's just somebody that any coach would want on the field."