AROUND THE HORNS: DOUBLE DUTCH

DOUBLE DUTCH: CATCHING UP WITH THE VAN DESSEL TWINS
By Chris Kowalczyk

When the VCU Field Hockey team scored a goal the last three seasons, there's a good chance Dutch twins Flore and Marle van Dessel had something to do with it. With their senior seasons still ahead, each has already made an indelible mark on the program. Marle has led the Rams in goals each of the last two seasons and ranks sixth in school history with 25. Many times, Flore has been the one setting up Marle's goals. Flore currently ranks seventh in Rams' history with 17 assists.

Around The Horns recently caught up with VCU's dynamic duo to discuss the World Cup, the world's largest ball of twine and why two van Dessel's just isn't enough.

ATH: How about The Netherlands reaching the World Cup final? Are you over the loss yet, or should we ask again in a few months?
FLORE: The Netherlands reaching the World Cup final exceeded every expectation we had as a country, the entire place went nuts. Just our house already had like, 70 orange balloons everywhere! Losing to Spain was rough, but I am over it completely. It's a great thing to have achieved, and I'm very proud of my men!
MARLE: Reaching the World Cup final was great! It was for the first time in two years that I wanted to be in the Netherlands while I was in Richmond. I think you could say that I recovered a minute after the loss. I just couldn't deal with the excitement of the game and I probably wouldn't have survived penalty kicks.

ATH: Is it worse to come so close to winning, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion, or to get eliminated in pool play?
FLORE: It's much better to lose in the final round and actually have showed the world what Dutch soccer is capable of, rather than going down without any honors and fame in the group rounds.
MARLE: Losing in heartbreaking fashion gets my preference most definitely. You get so close, that the motivation to reach it again is extremely high, especially when you are playing yourself.

ATH: True or false: If the Dutch win the World Cup, Amsterdam stages the party of the century.
FLORE:  True, but we already staged a pretty good party by just coming in second!

MARLE: I think we already staged the party of the century during the game. We had 180,000 people coming together and watching the game at one of the big squares there. Dutch people sure know how to party.

ATH: Your younger sister, Rymme, will be joining the VCU Field Hockey team this year. Any thoughts on nicknames for the trio?
FLORE: The Dutch Dazzling Dessels? Haha, I wouldn't know! Maybe the team will come up with something good.
MARLE: Flore and I have been sporting two nicknames: Dutchie (enjoyed that one) and Twin (yeah, not so much) so I'm just kind of waiting to see how creative everyone is going to get this time. Nicknames are only fun when you don't make them yourself.

ATH: In all seriousness, that's got to be pretty exciting for you guys. What would it mean to have all three of you on the field at the same time?
FLORE: I'm beyond excited Rymme is joining the team this year. I've never been able to play with her, because the age gap is just a little bit too big. At random times I have played with her, and I loved every moment of it. Having her on the field will mean another person you just have that automatic connection with, so hopefully that will give some very good passes and moments of play.
MARLE: It means a lot. I have always wanted to play with Rymme, since we were little, but the way the Dutch field hockey system works, we were always in different teams and age groups. The times we did play together at fun tournaments I sometimes got the chills about how big of a connection I felt with both of my sisters on the field and the plays we can create.

ATH: Hypothetical: If VCU's field hockey corner squad consisted of all three van Dessels, who inserts, who makes the stick stop and who takes the shot?
FLORE: Well, technically I am the stick stop on the team right now, but to answer the question truthfully, I think I'd be the person inserting the ball, Rymme would be the stick stop, and Marle would be the one scoring the goals.
MARLE: I would say Flore would insert, Rymme would stop and I would hit. We are very similar but also completely different players. Flore is a true defender, Rymme is an attacking defender/defending midfielder and I'm an attacking midfielder/forward. But since Flore has been practicing stick stops since she was 15 she could probably do those better.

ATH: Considering the Dutch connections, what are the chances we can switch the Rams' uniforms from Black and Gold to Orange this season?
FLORE: I would have to ask the queen for permission! But I love the black and gold. It would be weird to be wearing orange, because to me it would mean representing my country and right now representing the Rams is my main goal!
MARLE: Unless we are going to get some serious connections with a fashion designer or Under Armour [I doubt] we'll be able to switch. But I think we'll probably stick to the black and gold. Good thing I take about as much pride in VCU and its colors as that I do in orange.

ATH: It's my understanding that your parents are going to be spending the season in the United States, following the team around. Along the way, they'll get to visit exciting cities like Albany, N.Y., Farmville, Va. and Boone, N.C. (I hope you sense the sarcasm). Are you sure they don't want to go see something else, perhaps the Grand Canyon or the World's Largest Ball of Twine in Darwin, Minn. instead?
FLORE: I'm pretty sure my parents will be more than excited to see that ball of twine, but right now their priorities are following us around to catch as many games as possible. This unique moment of having all of us on one team has never happened before. My dad even got a nice camera so he could capture the moment, which is good, because he isn't that much of a sport lover, haha. Other than that, they have been to more places in the United States, and there will be enough time for them to travel all over the place once field hockey is over!
MARLE: They actually have seen Farmville already and they told me they really cannot wait to explore more from that town (sarcasm present) and I'm sure they will enjoy all the other towns just as much. You could say we are a very USA-oriented family and have seen a great deal already in previous vacations. But I believe there are some plans in the make to go on a trip during winter break, seeing some other USA highlights, including the Largest Ball of Twine.

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