Massachusetts Daily Collegian

An expanded role for Rebeca Frisk has meant more success for UMass women’s soccer

Frisk and the Minutewomen take on Duquesne on Thursday

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Katherine Mayo/Collegian

Katherine Mayo/Collegian

Katherine Mayo/Collegian

By Noah Bortle, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts women’s soccer team heads into conference play against Duquesne on a hot streak, and a key reason for that has been the strong play of junior forward Rebeca Frisk.

The Minutewomen (5-2-0) are winners of their last four games and in that time, Frisk has contributed six goals and two assists, including a hat trick against Chicago State.

“[Frisk] is a really talented player that has all the creative ideas,” UMass coach Jason Dowiak said, “and she’s just confident now.”

The Atlantic 10 took notice of Frisk’s play a week ago, rewarding her with the A-10 Co-Player of the Week award. She responded to the recognition by adding another goal and assist in UMass’ most recent game against Eastern Michigan.

Frisk struggled to find playing time in her first two years in Amherst under former coach Ed Matz. She managed only two starts, both coming her freshman year, and only netted two goals in two years. Now with three starts under her belt on the young season, Frisk has rewarded Dowiak’s trust by quadrupling her collegiate goal total.

“In the past it felt like, no matter how hard I worked, it didn’t necessarily matter,” Frisk said. “Now I know that no matter how hard you work, it’s going to show and you’re going to get rewarded and if you’re doing your job, you’re going to get playing time.”

With Duquesne (4-3-0) visiting Amherst on Thursday, Frisk’s game must remain sharp against one of the better teams in the A-10, known especially for pressuring teams and making it tough on opposing offenses.

Frisk knows the importance of starting off strong in the A-10 for the Minutewomen, especially against one of the perennial powers in Duquesne.

Frisk’s teammates are taking note of her play over the past few games as well.

“Frisk is on a roll,” Erin Doster said following UMass’ win over the Eagles. “I’ve never seen someone on such a hot scoring streak.”

The scoring streak that Doster mentioned was highlighted by a hat trick against Chicago State, the first three-goal performance by a Minutewoman since 2010, and one goal and an assist against Eastern Michigan.

But Frisk’s season will only get more difficult from here on out as UMass moves into the conference portion of their schedule, where teams will be using less experimental strategy and game planning more for their opponents.

It is hard to think that Frisk wouldn’t be the center of the Duke’s game plan to slow the Minutewomen offensively with how she has played over the past few weeks.

Dowiak trusts Frisk at the top of his offense, and feels she’s proved herself in her performance recently.

“She’s earned her opportunity,” Dowiak said. “She is a really creative player, but every single player on the team knows they have an opportunity to earn something every day, and she’s just rewarding herself everyday by producing.”

Reason to believe Frisk’s play can continue against tougher opponents lies in the fact that she will not be a ball-dominant player. She plays best when moving off the ball and relying on her finishing ability.

“She has a really good knack for finding the space where the ball is going to be, and a lot of goal scoring is just being in the right place at the right time,” Doster said. “Then obviously having the skill to put the ball away, which she has done excellently so far this season.”

Frisk and UMass take on Duquesne on Thursday at 4 p.m. at Rudd Field with hopes of keeping both a win streak and a scoring streak alive.

Noah Bortle can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @noah_bortle.

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