SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III Coaches Poll has been announced and Mount Holyoke College has once again rose in the rankings, climbing to 16th overall in this week's poll. The Lyons, who were 17th in last week's edition, also saw junior captain Kirsten Kilburn and first year Ruvimbo Mushavi earn NEWMAC Offensive and Defensive Performer of the Week, respectively.
Led by 16th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Lyons cruised to a 2-0 mark in last week's action to improve to 16-1 on the season. MHC also finished second in the NEWMAC standings with a 7-1 mark. Mount Holyoke earned the second-seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament and also garnered a First Round bye.
The Lyons have produced a number of outstanding wins this season, including a 3-2 victory over Rensselaer and a 3-2 overtime win against then 11th-ranked Amherst – the first win for MHC over the Jeffs since the 2003 campaign. Other highlights include a 3-2 win against conference and area-rival Smith and a 6-2 win at then-#19 MIT.
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 (.855) and fifth in scoring margin (3.49), while also ranking sixth in Division III in goals per game (4.47) and points per game (11.65).
Among the NEWMAC leaders, MHC is first in defensive saves (14), save percentage (.850), goals scored (76), shots (392), shots per game (23.10) and goals per game while ranking second in goals against average (1.01).
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 17 games, Banmann has tallied 30 goals with three assists for 63 points. She has also recorded team-best numbers in shots (122), shots on goal (90) and game-winning goals (6). Additionally, Banmann is the national Division III leader in goals per game (1.76) and fourth in points per game (3.71).
Junior midfielder and captain Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford) earned NEWMAC Offensive Performer of the Week honors, and was also named the ECAC New England Offensive Performer of the Week, after scoring four goals with two assists last week to help the Lyons to wins over Westfield State and Wheaton. Currently, she is second on the squad in scoring, posting 54 points on a squad-best 18 assists and 18 goals. Kilburn is second in the nation and the conference leader in assists per game (1.33), while also ranking eighth in points per game (3.18) among Division III's best
Defensively, Mount Holyoke has been anchored by first year keeper Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin), who currently owns the NEWMAC's best record, sporting a 16-1 mark with a 1.15 goals against average and a .822 save percentage. She has made 74 stops on the season and has recorded a solo shutout and six combined on the year.
Additionally, first year defender Ruvimbo Mushavi (Harare, Zimbabwe/Arundel School) earned her second Defensive Performer of the Week award on Monday after helping the Lyons hold its opponents to just 11 shots and a 0.50 goals against average in last week's action. She recorded two defensive saves, including a critical stop in the win over Westfield State. Currently, Mushavi is 10th in the nation and the conference leader in defensive saves with 11.
The Lyons return to action on Saturday when they compete in the NEWMAC Tournament Semifinals, hosted by top-seeded Wellesley College. MHC, the second-seed, will face third-seeded MIT in game two beginning at 2pm.
Live stats for the game, as well as video links can be found HERE.
Don't have a way to get there? The MHC Athletics Department has limited space on a fan van for those wishing to see the game in person. If you are interested, please contact Summer Hutcheson, Associate Athletic Director at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.