INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The NCAA Division III Field Hockey Committee has announced the field of 24 teams which will compete in the 2013 NCAA Championship and Mount Holyoke College was one of five teams to earn an At-Large selection. It marks the third appearance in program history for the Lyons, who are ranked 16th in the nation, and the first since the 2003 season.
Led by 16th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Lyons shouldered just their second loss of the season on Sunday afternoon, falling 1-0 in overtime to Wellesley in the NEWMAC Championship game. Mount Holyoke, which owns a 17-2 record, will now host Gwynedd Mercy University on Wednesday at the MHC Turf Field in NCAA First Round action. Game time is set for 4pm.
Tickets, which can be purchased at the game on Wednesday, are $7 for adults, $3 for students and children aged 12 or under are free admission.
The Lyons, who finished second in the NEWMAC with a 7-1 mark, 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 been dominant 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 currently ranked second in save percentage (.860), third in winning percentage (.895) and sixth in scoring margin (3.12), while also ranking eighth in Division III in goals per game (4.11) and scoring average (4.12).
Among the NEWMAC leaders, MHC is first in defensive saves (17), save percentage (.860), goals scored (78) and goals per game while ranking second in goals against average (1.00) while ranking second in shots (405), shots per game (21.30).
Individually, the Lyons are led in scoring by junior forward Diana Banmann (Hannover, Germany/University of Potsdam), who has captured NEWMAC Offensive Performer of the Week honors four times this season. A starter in all 19 games, Banmann has tallied 31 goals with three assists for 65 points. She has also recorded team-best numbers in shots (125), shots on goal (92) and game-winning goals (7). Additionally, Banmann entered the week as the national Division III leader in goals per game (1.63) and was fourth in points per game (3.42).
Junior midfielder and captain Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford), the reigning NEWMAC and ECAC New England Offensive Performer of the Week, is second on the squad in scoring, posting 55 points on a squad-best 18 assists and 19 goals. Kilburn entered the week's action ranked second in the nation and continues to lead the conference in assists per game (1.00). Additionally, she is listed 10th in points per game (2.89) 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 17-2 mark with a 1.12 goals against average and a .835 save percentage. She has made 91 stops on the season and has recorded a solo shutout and six combined on the year. Among the national leaders, DiCesare is fourth in save percentage and 17th in goals against average.
Additionally, first year defender Ruvimbo Mushavi (Harare, Zimbabwe/Arundel School) is listed 11th in the nation and remains the conference leader in defensive saves with 11.
Gwynedd Mercy earned its third straight ticket into the NCAA Tournament on Saturday after defeating Cabrini by a 4-2 margin for their third CSAC title. Sophomore Katie O'Neill was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after scoring twice and assisting on a third tally for the Griffins.
Under the direction of head coach Laura-Ann Lane, Gwynedd Mercy enters the NCAA Tournament with a 12-8 overall record. The Griffins went 6-1 in CSAC action, led by senior forward Maria Karidas, who has recorded 22 goals and seven assists for 51 points. Defensively, Gwynedd is anchored by junior goalie Kelly Kruk (12-8), who sports a 1.99 goals against average and a .757 save percentage with 128 stops on the year.