Quinnipiac University is saying “Hoi!” (hello) to an new era of dominance on the women’s soccer field.
The Bobcats’ newest star, Kirsten van de Ven, has been unstoppable since coming to Hamden from Heesch, Holland. Van de Ven was named NEC Rookie of the Week and NEC Player of the Week for her impressive performance on the field last week. In the week in which she received these honors, van de Ven totaled four assists in two games. She helped lead the Bobcats to a 2-0 win over the Manhattan Jaspers and chalked up two assists in a loss to the Providence College Friars.
Van de Ven, a freshman, said the decision to attend Quinnipiac was easy. In a visit last February, she fell in love with the campus. “Everyone was very nice, the campus was very clean, and Quinnipiac had what I was looking for; a good women’s program,” van de Ven said.
She started playing soccer when she was six years old. Since the only team that had women on its roster was for fourteen year olds, van de Ven decided to sign up with the local boy’s soccer team. She continued to play on boy’s teams until she made the transition into Holland’s Regional and National Teams. For three years, she played for Holland’s Under-19 team. Van de Ven and her teammates played United States’ Under-19 three times during her stint with the team. Two weeks before she left for Quinnipiac, she played for Holland’s National Team in a game against Japan’s Olympic team.
Van de Ven said her biggest transition has been the same as many other college students. “I’m trying to get used to the food and sharing a room,” she said, “and it’s hard to get around without my car or my bike.” However, unlike most Quinnipiac students, van de Ven has to deal with an ocean separating her from her family.
As the season picks up, van de Ven is looking forward to the challenges that await her. She said that there is a difference between playing in American and Europe. “The European game, for me, was more physical because I played on boys teams,” she said. “In America, you practice more and the teams we play are on a very good level of competition.”
Van de Ven also noticed the difference in travel. “In Holland, the teams we played were very close,” she said. “The most we had to travel was an hour away. The other day, on our way to Washington, it hit me about 30 minutes into the trip that the college was seven hours away.”
Coming into the season, the women’s recruiting class was ranked 42 in the nation according to www.soccerbuzz.com. Van de Ven was ranked among the Top 20 International Recruits in 2004. Despite the fact that the team has started with a record of two wins and five losses, van de Ven has managed to shine. The midfielder leads the team with three goals and five assists, and just missed netting her fourth goal of the season in the team’s loss to Hofstra.
As the season continues, listen for these simple Dutch phrases; “hoe gaat het” [how are you] as Kirsten rockets a ball into the visiting team’s net or “doci” [goodbye] as she blows past a hopeless defender. With van de Ven patrolling the midfield for the Bobcats, Quinnipiac women’s soccer program is looking “mooi” [beautiful].