SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - The Mount Holyoke College field hockey team has been recognized by the 2013 Gladiator by SGI/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) as one of the top academic teams in Division III. The Lyons also saw 15 student-athletes named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad, while first year Liz DiCesare was named a Scholar of Distinction.
One of 126 schools to be recognized, Mount Holyoke, which posted a team grade point average of 3.37, has been one of the top squads over the last 16 years, earning Academic Squad honors in each year of head coach Andy Whitcomb's career.
DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin), who was the NEWMAC Rookie of the Year and an All-Conference & All-Region Second Team selection, was recognized as a Scholar of Distinction, which is awarded to student-athletes who have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.90 or higher through their first semester of the 2013-14 academic year.
Mount Holyoke's individuals named to the National Academic Squad were Victoria Beja-Glasser (Chapel Hill, N.C./East Chapel Hill), Chrissy Boyles (Harvard, Mass./Acton Boxborough), DiCesare, Christine Ianni (Wilmington, Del./Tower Hill), Cristina Ibarra (San Francisco, Calif./San Francisco University), Sarah LaQuerre (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/Cheverus), Audrey Lemberger (Bronxville, N.Y./Bronxville High School), Laura Murphy (Los Altos, Calif./Los Altos), Ruvimbo Mushavi (Harare, Zimbabwe/Arundel School), Kayla Parker (Manchester, Maine/Maranacoock Community), Allison Slysz (Hatfield, Mass./Smith Academy), Jessica Taylor (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield), Ally Tessier (Coventry, R.I. / Portsmouth Abbey School), Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) and Sarah Watkins (Pisgah Forest, N.C./Carolina Day).
Beja-Glasser, a senior, along with Boyles, Ianni, Murphy, Parker and Slysz – all juniors – are making their third straight appearance on the National Academic Squad.
Of the 15 student-athletes recognized to the National squad, 12 had a grade point average higher than 3.50. In total, 19 members of the field hockey team achieved GPA's of at least a 3.00.
This year's NFHCA Division III top five teams were NEWMAC-rival Springfield (3.59), Richard Stockton College (3.57), Eastern University (3.54), Kean University (3.54) and Salisbury University (3.54).
Led by 16th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Lyons finished 18-3 in 2013. The squad advanced to the NEWMAC Championship, falling in overtime to Wellesley, and later earned an At-Large bid into the NCAA Tournament. The Lyons fell 1-0 in double-overtime in the NCAA First Round to the nation's top-seeded team, Montclair State University.
To be recognized for National Academic Team Award honors, a squad must have achieved a team GPA of 3.0 or higher during the Fall Semester of the 2012 academic year. Those named to the National Academic Squad, must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher through the Fall of 2012.