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October 19, 2017

Kuerzi battles through shin splints for UMass field hockey

(Katherine Mayo / Daily Collegian)

With two more road Atlantic 10 games on the docket this weekend for the Massachusetts field hockey team, senior forward Nicole Kuerzi will have to lead her team while battling shin splints.

Kuerzi developed shin splints, also known as compartment syndrome, in the spring of 2015 and had a surgery called fasciotomy on both of her legs. However the surgery was unsuccessful, forcing her to miss play during the 2015 season.

She then developed stress reactions (typically predecessors to stress fractures) in both of her shins and by her junior year she returned to play for the University of Massachusetts. She is now only able to play for five-minute intervals though.

“My goal is to go out there and make an impact within those five minutes,” Kuerzi said.

“If I give everything I have for those five minutes, I know I can go cry on the bench for five minutes until it’s time to go back in,” she joked.

Many have praised Kuerzi for being one of the most dedicated players on the team this season. She is a part of a strong upperclassmen core on a very young team that is poised to make a deep run this season.

Diving for loose balls, creating scoring chances and never giving up on plays is what head coach Barb Weinberg hopes that the seniors can continuously contribute and inspire the younger players to do the same.

UMass has won four of its last five contests, sweeping their weekend series against Davidson and UMass Lowell. The win on Friday against Davidson helped the Minutewomen get their first win on the road and more importantly, their first A-10 conference win as they move into a critical portion of the schedule with three of the next four opponents being conference foes.

The Minutewomen have a very critical stretch of their season coming up, with three of their next four games being against conference foes. The team will be headed for a two-game weekend series in Pennsylvania against Saint Francis on Friday at 3 p.m. and Lock Haven on Sunday at noon. Saint Francis will provide an extra challenge for UMass as they play on a grass field, an element that UMass has not had to deal with yet.

Tyler Movsessian can be reached at tmovsessian@umass.edu.

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