SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – The Penn Monto/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Division III Coaches Poll has been announced and Mount Holyoke College continues to hold solid in the Top-20. The Lyons maintained their #16 ranking and prepare for Saturday's NEWMAC Semifinal game against Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Led by 17th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Lyons are currently 15-2, owning a 7-1 mark in the NEWMAC standings. Mount Holyoke earned the second-seed for Saturday's semifinals, their only conference loss this season coming in a 2-1 defeat at #10 Wellesley.
Among the teams most notable wins include a 3-1 victory at Rensselaer, a 7-0 win against Castleton State, a 1-0 victory over then #18 Williams, a 2-1 overtime victory at Wesleyan and a critical 3-2 overtime win against MIT in October. That game secured the second-seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament for the Lyons.
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 ninth in save percentage (.840), 12th in both goals against average (0.98) and winning percentage (.867), 14th in assists per game (2.47) and 21st in both penalty corners per game (12.27) and points per game (9.40).
Among the NEWMAC leaders, MHC is first in save percentage (.840), while ranking second in goals scored (59), fewest goals allowed (15), penalty corners (184), assists (37), goals against average and goals per game (3.47).
Individually, the Lyons are led in scoring by senior captain and midfielder Kirsten Kilburn (North Branford, Conn./North Branford), who is a two-time NEWMAC Offensive Performer of the Week honoree this season. A starter in all 17 games, Kilburn ranks first in Division III in assists per game (1.06) and leads the NEWMAC with 18 assists.
Kilburn, who selected to play in the prestigious NFHCA Senior Game, has added 13 goals for a team-best 44 points. She has added a conference-high 112 shots (65 on goal) and has a NEWMAC-best six game-winning tallies. Additionally, she ranks second in the conference in points and is fifth in goals.
Sophomore forward Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) is currently second overall with 11 goals and 12 assists for 34 points. She is currently second in the NEWMAC in assists and fourth in points. First year midfielder Sophie Perekslis (Sheffield, Mass./Berkshire School) is the team-leader in goals with 14 for 28 points. Among the top rookies in the conference, she ranks fourth in goals and 10th in points.
Defensively, Mount Holyoke has been anchored by rookie Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin), who is 14-2 on the season. She currently ranks 14th in Division III in save percentage - a NEWMAC-best .823 - and is also 19th in goals against average with a 1.14 clip. DiCesare has made 79 saves on the season over 1041:26 minutes of action. Among the NEWMAC leaders, DiCesare is second in wins and goals against average, while ranking fifth in goals against (17).
The Lyons are back in 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. The Lyons earned a 3-2 win over the Engineers during the regular season. Additionally, this is the second straight season the two teams have met in the conference semifinals. In 2013, Mount Holyoke notched a 2-1 win against MIT to advance to the championship game.