This season, sophomore Anne van Hoof has made a splash for the Wake Forest field hockey team. With 18 points and eight goals to her name this year, she is second on the team in goals and third overall for points. In their upset win over No. 9 Syracuse, van Hoof scored twice to lead the Deacs to a 4-1 win.
Hailing from Schijndel, Netherlands, van Hoof played for the U16 and U18 Dutch national team as well as made it to the finals/semifinals of the Dutch National Club Championships all eight of her seasons. An internationally trained player, van Hoof is helping the Deacs improve on the offensive side of the game this year.
Samantha Wexler: The team obviously lost some great players after last season and had eight great players come in as well. Can you speak to what it took to develop this year’s team chemistry to continue the success of the program?
Anne van Hoof: Every year team chemistry is a big focus point for us. No games are won by individuals, but by a complete team, which consists of players on the field and cheering on the sidelines. We work hard for each other, on and off the ball and will always find a way to help each other out. I never had so many sisters! The fact that we are such a tight team as a whole is very unique!
SW: Can you speak on the preparation that goes on in a short week with multiple games?
AVH: We celebrate our wins on Sunday, but as soon as we wake up on Monday morning it is a new week, with new opponents and new team focuses. We have Mondays off to give our bodies time to recover from a week of practice and games. We go into the training room for treatment and recovery. On Tuesday we have morning lift and practice. We practice hard on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Thursdays are a little lighter, since we play on Friday. On Saturday we focus our practice on Sunday games.
SW: The team was working throughout the whole summer to prepare for the season. What were some of the most important things you did in the preseason to prepare?
AVH: This summer I got injured, which made it not possible for me to do the running like all the other girls were doing at home. However, its true when people say that injuries make you more tough. When I saw everyone on the team working hard outside it made me want to come back even stronger. Luckily, I was able to play a couple days into preseason. Coach Jen always says “every single kid in the country is going through what you’re going through, do not feel sorry for yourself.” I think that describes the toughness and hard work we did in preseason to get us as fit as we are right now.
SW: What newcomers are particularly making a splash this year, and how are they contributing to all sides of the team?
AVH: All girls that play for the Wake Forest field hockey team have something special, otherwise they would not have been recruited by coach Jen and Rich. Seeing some freshman starting, like Abby Carpenter and Laia Vancells, is amazing. Starting as a freshman is a great opportunity to learn and to grow. They set the standard high for the other freshmen, which makes them compete at the best of their ability as well.
SW: The team hails from seven countries other than the United States and eight different states. What are some of the things that you do to team bond?
AVH: The fact that this team has so much diversity in where all girls come from makes our bond even stronger. Each one of us can add something valuable to the team, on and off the field. It gives us the ability to learn something new and the opportunity to discover how girls with different cultures deal with problems and opportunities. This diversity makes us fun, never tired of each other and eager to learn something new about each other every single day.
SW: There has been a very high standard of play under Coach Averill. What in particular does she bring to the program to continue this dominance?
AVH: Coach Jen pushes us to our limits, but mostly gives us the opportunity to grow and figure out what works best for us in order to play at the best of our ability. The personal bond that all girls have with Coach Jen gives us the easy step to talk to her directly if something’s wrong or to share something exciting with her. This makes us not only a close team with the players, but a close team with the coach as well. A strong team off the field means a strong team on the field.
SW: Coach Averill built the Wake Forest program from the start, how does her wealth of experience at Wake help the team?
AVH: Like I said earlier, experience is the best way to learn. The fact that Coach Jen built this program from the start and that she worked with girls around our age for so long means that most of the things that happen on our team are not new to her. Of course, Coach Jen learns new things as well as we do, however the knowledge that she has can make sure that we figure out our difficulties sooner which can give us an answer sooner and get us moving towards our goals quicker.
SW: Outside of the team, do you have any people who have influenced your experience here?
AVH: Given the fact that I am foreign and English is not my native language, I had a hard time here at Wake Forest my first semester. However, professors are very understanding and helpful. Professors offering to help me outside of regular school hours with writing essays, even though I was asking the same questions over and over again, showed me the strength of Wake Forest as a university. Wake Forest really wants you to succeed in everything you chose to do, offering all the help that you need in order to do that.
SW: What’s your favorite Wake Forest Field Hockey memory here so far?
AVH: My favorite Wake Forest Field Hockey memories are dining out on away trips, because that is where you really get to meet the girls you play with. Conversations are about anything and everything.