Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Melanie Kreusch receives A-10 Rookie of the Week honors

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(Robert Rigo/ Daily Collegian)

(Robert Rigo/ Daily Collegian)

Following her first career goal – the game winner in the Massachusetts field hockey team’s first victory of the year against Maine – freshman Melanie Kreusch was named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week.

It’s her first career honor from the conference. Kreusch received the honor after just four games, making her the first Minutewoman to earn the honors since teammate Izzie Delario was recognized for the award last November.

Kreusch ended the game Friday on a diving shot in overtime against the Black Bears. The game-winner represented her first career point and first shot attempt for UMass.

“It is really great for her,” UMass coach Carla Tagliente said. “(She) has played great and has really helped our team so far this season.”

Tagliente continued her praise of Kreusch.

“She has been really consistent so far and has really stepped in quickly into a starting role,” Tagliente said. “I think she really made strides last week.”

Kreusch has come on as of late, attempting her only two shots of the season during the past two games. Originally from Brussels, Belgium, Kreusch has been a mainstay in the UMass starting lineup since her arrival this fall, starting in all four games for the Minutewomen so far.

“Her consistency and versatility have really been impressive,” Tagliente said. “Her decision-making and distribution have been very good.”

Tagliente elaborated on the freshman’s ability to play different positions.    “Melanie can step in as a defensemen or a midfielder,” she said. “We are shorthanded in the backfield so her versatility is going to be helpful.”

Kreusch will have plenty of time to grow and learn the game, especially if she remains in the starting lineup.

“She has a lot of potential and time to grow,” Tagliente said. “Melanie has tremendous talent and can really help this team.”

Kreusch is not the only underclassman who has contributed to the Minutewomen thus far. The team has reloaded with underclassmen that are poised to lead UMass to another A-10 championship and deep run into the NCAA tournament.

Five of the six players who have tallied points this season are underclassmen, including Kreusch. She joins sophomore Nicole Miller and junior Brooke Sabia as the only three goal scorers for the Minutewomen thus far.

“We have a lot of potential,” Tagliente said. “We have a lot of young players who need to gain experience.”

The team enters the weekend 1-3 overall and is struggling to score goals.

“With all the young players there comes a lot of inconsistency,” Tagliente added. “We have to gel and hopefully we can take a big stride forward.”

The team will have plenty of time to grow together with 15 games remaining on the season. Tagliente said this was the most skilled team she has coached in years, and believed they could go on a run similar to last season’s NCAA tournament appearance. It’s a different feel around the field hockey team this season, as they are much younger than past versions of the team. However, Tagliente remained optimistic.

“We have tremendous upside,” Tagliente said. “I am excited to see how this team will look at the end of the year.”

Tyler Fiedler can be reached at [email protected]

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