SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III Coaches Poll has been announced and Mount Holyoke College have continued their move up the rankings, climbing to 17th overall in this week's poll. The Lyons, who were 18th in last week's edition, also saw first years Charlotte Wagner and Liz DiCesare named the NEWMAC Offensive and Defensive Performer of the Week, respectively.
Under the guidance of 16th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Lyons won both of their contests last week to move to 14-1 on the season. MHC is also 6-1 in NEWMAC play and sits alone in second-place in the conference standings heading into the final week of action.
Among the teams most notable wins include a 3-2 victory over Rensselaer, a 3-2 overtime win against then 11th-ranked Amherst – the first win for MHC over the Jeffs since the 2003 campaign – a 3-2 win against conference and area-rival Smith and its most recent victory a 6-2 win at #19 MIT last Saturday.
The Lyons have continued to put forth a dominant effort across the board and lead the nation and New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) in a number of categories. Among the nation's best, Mount Holyoke is fourth in save percentage (.852) and fifth in scoring margin (3.42), while also ranking eighth in Division III in goals per game (4.47) and points per game (11.80).
Among the NEWMAC leaders, MHC is first in defensive saves (12), save percentage (.850) and shots per game (23.00), while ranking second in goals scored (67), shots (345), goals against average (1.07) and goals per game.
Individually, the Lyons are led in scoring by Banmann (Hannover, Germany/University of Potsdam), who has captured NEWMAC Offensive Performer of the Week honors four times this season. A starter in all 15 games, Banmann has tallied 27 goals with three assists for 57 points. She has also recorded team-best numbers in shots (112), shots on goal (82) and game-winning goals (5). Additionally, Banmann is the national Division III leader in goals per game (1.80) and fourth in points per game (3.80).
Junior midfielder and captain Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) is second on the squad in scoring, posting 44 points on a squad-best 16 assists and 14 goals. Kilburn is third in the nation and the conference leader in assists per game (1.07).
Rounding out the top three offensively is Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School), who earned her first weekly conference honor after recording two goals with five assists to help MHC to a 2-0 record last week. She had a goal and two assists in a 3-0 win against WPI and then added a tally with three helpers in a 6-2 victory over then-#19 MIT.
A starter in all 15 games, Wagner has tallied nine goals thus far and is second on the team in assists with 10. She has recorded 28 points on the season, adding 31 shots (25 on goal) with two game-winning tallies.
Defensively, Mount Holyoke has been anchored by DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin), who earned the conference's top defensive honor this week after backstopping the MHC defense to a victory over WPI, making two saves, before posting an eight-save performance in the critical win at #19 MIT.
DiCesare currently owns the NEWMAC's best record, sporting a 14-1 mark with a 1.23 goals against average and a .818 save percentage. She has made 72 stops on the season and has recorded a solo shutout and five combined on the year. Additionally on defense, first year defender Ruvimbo Mushavi (Harare, Zimbabwe/Arundel School) is 13th in the nation and the conference leader in defensive saves with nine.
The Lyons are back in action tonight when they host Westfield State in non-conference action at 7pm on the MHC Turf Field. Mount Holyoke then concludes its regular season at home on Saturday, hosting Wheaton at 1pm. Click HERE for tonight's game program against the Owls.