RICHMOND, Va. – If Flore van Dessel (Oisterwijk, Netherlands) has solved the penalty stroke, she's not telling.
"I had a plan. I'm not going to tell. That's my little secret," the Virginia Commonwealth University senior said. "I think over the last three years I've probably taken over 100 strokes, so at some point it just becomes muscle memory."
Cloak and dagger aside, it appeared that van Dessel actually knew something when she fired home a penalty stroke 10 minutes into overtime to give VCU a stunning 2-1 victory over Richmond Wednesday at Crenshaw Field.
The victory is the Rams' third straight and improves them to 3-2 on the year. It also snapped a nine-game losing streak in overtime contests that dated back to 2008. VCU's last OT win was a 2-1 victory over at Fairfield on Aug. 29, 2008.
With the score tied at 1-1 in the 80th minute, VCU sophomore Arialle Hess (Allentown, Pa.) streaked into the Spiders' circle with the ball and drew a flagrant foul to earn the Rams' a penalty stroke. van Dessel, who is 2-of-4 in career stroke attempts, slipped a low liner just inside the left post and past a diving Richmond keeper for the victory.
"It wasn't my best stroke, but it went in and that's what counts," van Dessel said.
When the ball found the back of the cage, van Dessel's teammates stormed onto the field to mob her. After nine straight overtime losses, the Rams were eager to celebrate Wednesday's victory.
"I feel great, there's really nothing else I can say right now," beamed VCU Head Coach Kelly McQuade. "I just feel like the weight has been lifted and the girls are walking a little bit taller now."
Flore's twin sister Marle (pictured, left) gave VCU a 1-0 halftime lead when she blasted a feed from Hess to the lower left corner in the 12th minute. In the second half, Richmond's Christina Amorose provided the equalizer during a corner in the 44th minute when she tipped in a ball from the right post from point blank range.
Junior keeper Erin Jablonski (Charlottesville, Va.) made two saves in goal for VCU to earn her third victory.
The Rams won't be able to enjoy their dramatic win for long. On Sunday, Sept. 12, VCU will travel to No. 4 Princeton for a noon match with the Tigers.