Claire Dawyot originally attended Pennsylvania State University for engineering but transferred to Franciscan University of Steubenville for biology after realizing she wants to work with patients. Now, her goal is to use her free graduate credits at the university to take classes while interviewing for medical school.
From Landenberg, Pennsylvania, Dawyot is a first-year graduate student in Franciscan’s Master of Philosophy program, concentrating in bioethics. She previously obtained her undergraduate degree in biology from Franciscan.
Dawyot’s return to Franciscan for classes has doubled as a chance to play soccer again, which she said was a major factor in her decision.
She has been playing for the women’s soccer team for about four years. Currently, she is positioned as a midfielder, specifically an attacking center mid.
“I’m there (as a center mid) as a transition between defense and offense,” Dawyot said, “and I’m more of a distributor. … Basically, our forwards make the runs and I make the passes.”
Dawyot said that over the past five years the women’s soccer team has had four different coaches. In spite of the management changes, Dawyot said she has been pleased with the team.
“(The team) has been very consistent (throughout that time) in the traditions on the team and the mentality of the team,” Dawyot said. “Everyone who’s on the team now would get along with everyone who was on the team 10 years ago. We have the same traditions and the same kind of dynamic.”
Some of those traditions include the team members choosing three virtues and goals they want to reach during the season, praying a divine mercy chaplet or rosary before games, praying the litany of humility, singing “Shout to the Lord” after games and giving testimonies.
Players also form groups of four that hold each other accountable for reaching personal goals. Furthermore, players offer up intentions during their exercises, asking themselves who they’re playing for — Jesus.
Dawyot said, “We’re very obviously team-oriented, I would say we’re all really close. … We’re all jokingly just tired all the time, but we’re all in it together (through) all the sprints that we do together, all the tough practices, all the wins and losses.”
To Dawyot, the best part of being on the soccer team is the unique friendships she has made with her teammates. Having been with her teammates so often, Dawyot said there is a connection between her and her teammates that cannot be found anywhere else.
Driven by a shared love of soccer, the soccer team members share plenty of bonding experiences. Some of Dawyot’s favorite experiences have involved the bus rides.
“We were driving back (from a game) one time,” Dawyot said. “It was nighttime, so the bus was dark, and we just started blasting music and all got up, dancing on the bus. We just called it ‘Club Baron.’ … People were literally crowd-surfing on the bus.”
Soccer has been Dawyot’s passion since she was five years old. All of her siblings played soccer, so it was only natural that Dawyot would join in as well, she said. Dawyot is the youngest of six sisters; including her, the four youngest sisters all attended Franciscan and played soccer.
Over her career, Dawyot herself has become relatively decorated, having achieved multiple academic honor roll awards from the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference, the Presidents’ Athletic Conference and from her alma mater Kennett High School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.
Dawyot also secured a spot on the Presidents’ Athletic Conference Second Team for her distinguished playing. To date, Dawyot has started in 37 out of 41 games and scored 13 total goals during her career with Franciscan.
Apart from athletics, Dawyot is also a musician. Skilled in both the violin and the piano, Dawyot chose St. Cecilia, patron saint of musicians, as her confirmation saint. She currently plays for the Franciscan Chamber Orchestra.
Additionally, Dawyot likes to run and mountain bike.
Dawyot is disciplined in many aspects of her life, including faith, which she says keeps her “grounded, mentally sane and positive.”
“Faith is a lot like soccer in staying active,” Dawyot said. “Sometimes I don’t even notice how impactful it is for my life until I’m not making time for it, and then I realize, wow, it’s so much better (with it).”
As of Oct. 21, the women’s soccer team has two games left in the regular season, which Dawyot said will be some of the hardest matches yet. However, she remains hopeful.
Dawyot said, “The season’s been really good in that we’ve improved so, so much, and I think that’s especially (because) we had so many freshmen in the beginning and they’ve just grown so much in confidence.”
As the PAC comes to a close, Dawyot gave a piece of advice: “Come to soccer games!”