SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. - The Mount Holyoke College field hockey team has been recognized by the 2014 Gladiator by SGI/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) as one of the top academic teams in Division III. The Lyons also saw 17 student-athletes named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad, while three garnered Scholar of Distinction recognition.
One of 124 schools to be recognized, Mount Holyoke, which posted a team grade point average of 3.50, has been one of the top squads over the last 17 years, earning Academic Squad honors in each year of head coach Andy Whitcomb's career.
Earning Scholar of Distinction honors this season were first years Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic), Sophie Perekslis (Sheffield, Mass./Berkshire School) and Kathryn Rawson (Old Town, Maine/Old Town). To be recognized, a student-athlete must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.90 or higher through their first semester of the 2014-15 academic year.
Mount Holyoke's individuals named to the National Academic Squad were junior Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson), senior Chrissy Boyles (Harvard, Mass./Acton Boxborough), Braz, sophomore Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin), senior Christine Ianni (Wilmington, Del./Tower Hill), first year Julia Lankin (West Hartford, Conn./Conard), junior Sarah LaQuerre (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/Cheverus), senior Laura Murphy (Los Altos, Calif./Los Altos), sophomore Ruvimbo Mushavi (Harare, Zimbabwe/Arundel School), senior Kayla Parker (Manchester, Maine/Maranacoock Community), Perekslis, Rawson, senior Allison Slysz (Hatfield, Mass./Smith Academy), sophomore Jessica Taylor (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield), sophomore Ally Tessier (Coventry, R.I. / Portsmouth Abbey School), sophomore Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) and senior Sarah Watkins (Pisgah Forest, N.C./Carolina Day).
Boyles, along with Ianni, Murphy and Parker are all making their fourth straight appearance on the National Academic Squad. MHC is one of just three schools in Division III to have four honorees recognized four straight times. Of the 17 student-athletes recognized to the National squad, 13 had a grade point average higher than 3.50. Additionally, the Lyons were one of just six teams in the nation to have at least 17 honorees.
This year's NFHCA Division III top five teams were Stockton College (3.76), Eastern University (3.60), NEWMAC-rival Springfield (3.57), Wesleyan University (3.57) and Widener University (3.57).
Led by 17th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Lyons went 17-4 with a 7-1 record in the NEWMAC. The squad finished second in the conference and runner-up at the NEWMAC Tournament, earning the program's second-straight NCAA Tournament At-Large bid.
It was the program's fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament - all under Whitcomb's guidance - and the second straight. MHC played host to Husson in the opening round, defeating the Eagles by a 2-0 margin to once again advance to the Second Round. The Lyons squared off against third-ranked and defending national champion, Bowdoin in the Sweet 16, falling by a 4-0 margin.
Five student-athletes capped the season in double-digits for points, while four were named NEWMAC All-Conference, including three on the First Team. Additionally, five were named to the Longstreth/NFHCA New England East Region Teams, including First Team honorees midfielder Kirsten Kilburn and goalie Liz DiCesare.
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 2014 academic year. Those named to the National Academic Squad, must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher through the Fall of 2014.