SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - The New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Field Hockey All-Conference Teams were recently announced and Mount Holyoke College saw four student-athletes recognized. Leading the charge was Liz DiCesare, who was selected the conference's Rookie of the Year, while also being named to the Second Team along with Sarah LaQuerre. Earning First Team recognition were Diana Banmann and Kirsten Kilburn.
DiCesare, a rookie goaltender out of Westford, Mass., was tabbed as the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year after boasting conference-best marks in wins (17-2) and save percentage (.835). She is also second in goals against average (1.13) and fewest goals allowed (18). Additionally, DiCesare, who also ranks fourth among all Division III goaltenders in save percentage and 17th in GAA, has made 91 saves.
A former standout at Bishop Guertin High School, DiCesare has backstopped the Lyons to a number of incredible wins this season, including a 3-2 overtime victory against then-#11 Amherst on September 10. That win came in the midst of an eight-game winning streak, eclipsed only by MHC's program-record nine-game victory run to close out the regular season. A NEWMAC Defensive Performer of the Week honoree once, DiCesare recorded at least one save in 16 of 19 contests, including three games with 10 or more stops.
Banmann, a junior forward who hails from Hannover, Germany, has tallied 31 goals with three assists for 65 points as a starter in all 19 contests. She has also posted team-best numbers in shots (125), shots on goal (92) and game-winning goals (7). Additionally, Banmann is the national Division III leader in goals per game (1.63) and ranks fourth in points per game (3.42).
The NEWMAC Offensive Performer of the Week four times this season, Banmann has tallied at least one goal in 15 of 19 contests, including three or more in five contests. Her hat tricks have been clutch for the Lyons, coming in a 10-0 win over Regis (8/31), a 7-1 victory at Nichols (9/5), a 3-2 overtime win against Amherst, a 4-2 decision at Springfield (10/12) and a 6-2 victory at then-#19 MIT (10/26).
Earning First Team honors for the second straight season was Kilburn, a junior midfielder and captain from North Branford, Conn., who ranks second on the squad in scoring with 55 points on a squad-best 18 assists and 19 goals. She ranks second in the nation and continues to lead the conference in assists per game (1.00). Additionally, Kilburn is 10th in points per game (2.89) among Division III's best.
A former standout at North Branford High School, Kilburn has tallied at least one goal in 11 contests, including a four-tally effort in an 8-0 victory against Western New England University (9/14). One of the conference's toughest two-way players, Kilburn has posted an assist in 12 games this season and was a NEWMAC and ECAC New England Offensive Performer of the Week selection on November 5, following a 10-point performance in the last week of the regular season.
Also recognized for the Lyons was LaQuerre, a sophomore midfielder out of Old Orchard Beach, Maine. Starting all 19 games this season, LaQuerre has tallied two goals and eight assists for 12 points. She is third on the squad in helpers and fourth in overall points.
LaQuerre, who is a graduate of Cheverus High School, has been a critical member of the Lyons defense as well and ranks second on the squad in defensive saves with five. Her key efforts in the goal have helped Mount Holyoke to the second-best save percentage in the nation (.860). Among her best stops was in the NEWMAC Championship Game, where she posted two defensive saves in a 1-0 overtime loss to Wellesley.
Mount Holyoke (17-2, 7-1 NEWMAC), which is led by 16th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, was selected with an At-Large bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Lyons, who will be making their third appearance in program history, host Gwynedd-Mercy University on Wednesday at the MHC Turf Field. Game time is set for 4pm and tickets can be purchased at the contest ($7 for adults, $3 for students, 12 & under are free). Live stats and live video will also be available at http://athletics.mtholyoke.edu/sports/fh/2013-14/schedule.
Cover photo of DiCesare courtesy of Doug Keller. Interior photos of Banmann and Kilburn courtesy of RJB Sports Photography.