Winter 2016

About the Magazine

Northwestern is the quarterly alumni magazine for Northwestern University.
Contact or contribute to the magazine.

Campus Life
Field hockey’s Dutch foursome, from left, Puck Pentenga, Isabel Flens, Eva van Agt and Saar de Breij. Photo courtesy of Northwestern Athletic Communications.

Going Dutch

Story Tools

Share this story

Facebook  Facebook
Twitter  Twitter
Email  Email

Print this story

Tell us what you think. E-mail comments or questions to the editors at

Find Us on Social Media

Facebook  Twitter  Twitter

Field hockey quartet enjoys Netherlands-Northwestern connection.

The Northwestern field hockey team is disproportionately Dutch, with four members of the 2016 squad from the Netherlands: senior Isabel Flens, sophomores Eva van Agt and Puck Pentenga, and freshman Saar de Breij.

Field hockey is popular in the Netherlands, where the women’s team is ranked No. 1 in the world. But Dutch universities do not offer athletics, so U.S. collegiate field hockey is becoming a popular way for players from the Netherlands to continue their careers.

Flens says she had dreamed of living in the United States since she was a child but didn’t know that field hockey could be her ticket. After Northwestern recruiters reached out, and even came to watch her play in her hometown, Hattem, she was hooked.

Van Agt was unsure if she could handle living so far away from her family. But when she visited Northwestern as a prospective student, she stayed with Flens and found comfort in knowing that the team had so many other Dutch players and was so international in general — nearly half of the team members are from outside the United States.

The four players, who describe the team as a family with 24 sisters, still find ways to keep in touch with their roots. “When it’s just the four of us, we speak Dutch to one another and have nights where we make savory, crêpe-like Dutch pancakes and watch Dutch movies,” Flens says. “It’s kind of become a ritual, to make it feel like home.”

On the field, Flens, a midfielder/forward, is Northwestern’s points leader, and her Dutch teammates all rank in the top seven in points for the Wildcats. With two weeks remaining in the regular season, they had combined for 25 goals and 19 assists and helped propel Northwestern to a 10-2 start and a top-10 ranking.