Rebeca Frisk providing scoring depth for UMass women’s soccer

Minutewomen set to open Atlantic 10 playoffs, Saturday

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Rebeca Frisk providing scoring depth for UMass women’s soccer

(Qiaoyu Chen/Daily Collegian)

(Qiaoyu Chen/Daily Collegian)

(Qiaoyu Chen/Daily Collegian)

(Qiaoyu Chen/Daily Collegian)

By Dan McGee

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The Massachusetts women’s soccer team will be playing its first Atlantic 10 tournament game since 2014 as they head to George Mason this Saturday. Having been shut out by the Patriots (13-5, 8-2 Atlantic 10) in a 1-0 loss earlier this season, the Minutewomen (11-5-1, 6-3-1 A-10) know what it’s going to take on offense in order to get things to go their way this time around.

“Staying connected and being dangerous,” said Rebeca Frisk about what is vital for the UMass offensive attack to play at its best on Saturday. Frisk, who scored her team-leading seventh goal of the year in the regular season finale versus Dayton, came off the bench in the effort.

Though he’s unsure if Frisk will start or come off the bench again on Saturday, coach Jason Dowiak acknowledged the need for Frisk to excel in her role as an attacker in the Minutewomen offense.

“I think she had such a great performance and that was something that her and I talked about going into the game,” said Dowiak. “We wanted to see a little more fire in her to get to goal and create chances. We’re going to look at things this week and see what our best foot forward looks like.”

“Coming off the bench I get more of a scope of the field and to what’s going on,” added Frisk. “I see things that you can’t necessarily see on the field so definitely when I go on to the field, I wouldn’t say my mentality has changed, but the idea of my movement and where I wanna go is a lot more clear in my head.”

The decision to not start his leading scorer paid off for Dowiak on Saturday. However, the victory followed a stretch of four games where Minutewomen could only muster two goals, leaving some question marks about the sporadic nature of the UMass offense heading into the postseason.

“If we’re having any struggles in finishing, we’ve got so much depth coming in off the bench that we’ll find somebody that’s in their true role to kind of step it up,” said Dowiak.

One player that Dowiak thinks we could see on attack in the case that the UMass offense struggles to score is senior defender Jenna Thomas. Typically known for her intense play in the back, Thomas certainly could provide a lot of energy to the top of the UMass formation.

“Jenna is really the one player who sometimes kind of goes rogue on her own out of the back and tries to advance and put a little more of the game on her shoulders at times,” said Dowiak. “We talked a little bit about if we really needed a different kind of threat, that we might throw her up top just as what we would call ‘a wild horse’ to just go free and try to cause something and to be dangerous or difficult for the other team.”

Before resorting to positional or formation changes, however, the Minutewomen are putting in the necessary work in practice to ensure they’ll be prepared to attack fiercely against the Patriots on Saturday.

“[We’ve been working on] a lot of east to west,” said Frisk. “Going down the field and serving balls into the box, and just being dangerous from the 18-and-in and taking shots. Our team has a lot of opportunities to take shots and sometimes we miss out on those opportunities because we’re not looking to shoot as much. But obviously we’re a lot more dangerous when we’re looking to capitalize in the final third.”

“We always work on pattern plays to goal,” forward Erin Doster added. “It just sort of gives us ideas of what we want to do in the game. We replicate that and it just kind of gets the ideas going. It’s just how you read the game and where the spaces are.”

While they had home-field advantage in their regular season loss versus George Mason, the Minutewomen will have to hit the road this time around. With five of their 11 victories this season coming on the road, the Minutewomen aren’t going to let the location effect their play.

“We make everywhere we go our home,” said Frisk. “We’re just going to go to their home and take back what was ours.”

The Minutewomen will try to take back what is theirs in Virginia this Saturday.

Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.

Dan McGee can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @DMcGeeUMass.