Lenke Havas, a native of Maastricht, Netherlands, first started playing field hockey at six years old.
Now playing in her fifth season at Lehigh, Havas has had a historic career.
Havas said field hockey is popular in the Netherlands. She is one of four players on the team to hail from the Netherlands.
Havas said her involvement in field hockey started randomly because nobody in her immediate family played.
“It was something my parents were like, ‘Hey, you should go do this,’” Havas said. “I think they just liked the fact that it was a team sport, so that I could make friends.”
In the Netherlands, Havas won multiple championships and tournaments with the club team MHC Maastricht. A captain of her U19 club, Havas also played at a high level in indoor competition.
Havas said she always remembers loving the game but that it became more serious once she began high school.
Involvement with competitive sports looks much different in the U.S. than it does in the Netherlands, Havas said.
“Sports here are just so popular, and everyone loves it,” Havas said. “In the Netherlands, sports are fun and everything, but it’s not the world.”
Although Havas said her field hockey involvement felt like a lot at the time, she realizes now how minor it was in comparison to her involvement at Lehigh.
In high school, Havas said she played about six hours of field hockey a week. In comparison, she estimates she spends 20 hours a week playing at Lehigh.
Although on average the Dutch put fewer hours into practicing, Havas said this does not take away from the country’s general talent level. She attributes that to the sport’s popularity in the Netherlands, as well as the country’s unique training styles.
Havas began thinking of attending college in the U.S. during her senior year of high school. She was drawn to Lehigh because of coach Caitlin Dallmeyer’s vision for the program.
“I just liked the fact that Lehigh was more of a program that had to start from the bottom and make their way up because I think the process of doing something like that was just really exciting,” Havas said.
Havas said being a part of something bigger than herself is meaningful.
Dallmeyer said that the program is looking to recruit internationally. She said Havas stood out because of her film and the strength of her academic profile.
Teammates call Havas a difference-maker all over the field.
“Everyone looks to her for guidance and she’s a great mentor to the younger players,” said fifth-year senior Drew Pecora.
After recording her first career hat trick and receiving Patriot League Player of the Week honors, two of Havas’ goals this season are to have a winning record and make it to the Patriot League Tournament.