Redshirt senior back Iris Langejans has been a driving force for the Rutgers field hockey team since she joined the program in 2021.
Langejans is in absolute control when she is on the field, and all of that comes from her work and dedication.
Hailing from the Netherlands, she first picked up a field hockey stick more than 15 years ago after finding out about the game through her childhood friend.
"I was around 5, 6 years old, and I remember that one of my best friends would always play with her mom," Langejans said. "I just was like, 'Oh, I'm gonna give field hockey a try,' and that's how I fell in love with the sport."
Field hockey has been a natural part of Langejans' life. She was a kid who always gravitated to all things sports, so it only made sense she would continue playing through college.
"I was just always very curious about how college sports work in America," Langejans said. "Back home, we don't play sports in college."
Langejans started learning about the way the NCAA works and just how competitive collegiate sports are. After that, she found what she was looking for.
"I talked to my friend who plays for JMU, and she was like, 'Wow, Iris. I love it here, and I think this is such a cool experience for you as well because the girls are just like you,'" Langejans said.
An environment full of competition and drive was exactly what Langejans felt she needed, and she found that right away in the Scarlet Knights (15-2, 6-2).
"I talked with multiple colleges, but Rutgers was just feeling like home," said Langejans. "And (head coach Meredith Civico) is just amazing. She's like a second mom to me."
This is the place where Langejans really got to hone her game and take things to a new level.
"I think that's the biggest thing. I'm just smarter now. I see things better," Langejans said. "When I was younger, I would just go all in ... without a plan, but now I see the game (better)."
Civico has been a huge part of Langejans' development, and she has nothing but great things to say about her head coach.
"I see (Civico) as somebody who I could always talk with. In previous years of my career back home, I just saw a coach as a coach," she said.
Civico is much more than just a coach. The team is truly bonded to their head coach, and they all share their love of the game and their love of a win. It makes this team that much stronger.
"Everybody really, really wants it. There's no other team in the Big Ten, or anywhere, that works as hard as us, I think," she said.
This Rutgers field hockey team has had a season like no other, going undefeated in 15 straight games and only losing two games all year. The proof of the hard work all these girls have put in shows time and time again on the field.
Langejans has been a powerhouse herself and is a key player to watch on the field. She controls the pace of games while bringing character to the Knights, something that will surely be missed when she graduates.
"I have a team back home that really wants me to play for them, but (Civico) wants me to stay," Langejans said.
Whether at Rutgers or somewhere else, it is obvious Langejans will be a name known in the world of field hockey.
"I will continue to play field hockey, that's one thing for sure," Langejans said.
Langejans will be leading the Knights next week as they head to the Big Ten Tournament as the No. 2 seed looking for a conference title.
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