Fresh off a season in which it amassed school records, All-Conference and All-America honors, the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team made a repeat with another banner year in 2014. Guided by 17th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Lyons posted a record of 17-4. The squad once again finished second in the NEWMAC with a 7-1 mark, returning to the conference tournament for the 16th straight season.
The Lyons, whose three losses during the regular season were all by two goals or less, advanced to the NEWMAC Semifinals once again. A goal from sophomore forward Charlotte Wagner in the 29th minute proved to be the difference as MHC held off MIT by a 1-0 margin to advance to into the conference championship for the second straight season.
Mount Holyoke found itself with a familiar foe for the NEWMAC crown, squaring-off once again versus Wellesley. The two squads battled scoreless through the first 70 minutes of the contest as both goalkeepers made brilliant stops, including seven by Lyons sophomore Liz DiCesare. In the overtime session, it was the Blue who came out on top once again, scoring at 7:44 of overtime to give Wellesley the NEWMAC title.
As it was the season before, MHC suffered just two losses during the regular season, one of which came at the hands of Wellesley by a 2-1 margin on September 27.
Despite the narrow loss, Mount Holyoke was selected for an At-Large bid into the NCAA Tournament, its second trip to the big dance in as many seasons. The Lyons hosted Husson University in the First Round, gutting their way to a 2-0 victory behind first half goals from juniors Sarah LaQuerre and Anna Hartman. DiCesare added four stops in the victory for her fourth shutout of the season. The victory was also the second NCAA win in program history.
MHC continued its NCAA journey in the Second Round, travelling to Brunswick, Maine., to face the nation's third-ranked team and the defending national champions of Bowdoin College. Despite a number of solid chances and a nine-save effort from DiCesare, the Polar Bears proved too strong enroute to the 4-0 victory.
Leading the way for the Lyons was senior captain and midfielder Kirsten Kilburn, who tallied 13 goals with 19 assists for a team-best 45 points. She added a conference-high 117 shots, including 68 on goal, with a NEWMAC-leading six game-winning tallies. Kilburn finished as the NCAA Division III statistical leader in assists per game, posting a .90 average, and also became the Lyons' all-time career leader in both assists (54) and points (178).
Wagner notched 12 goals with 13 assists for 37 points to finish second overall, while first year forward Sophie Perekslis posted a team-best 14 goals for 28 points during her rookie campaign. Junior forward Julia Bell added 12 goals with three assists for 27 points and LaQuerre rounded out the top five with six goals and seven assists for 19 points.
In goal, DiCesare had a 16-4 record, sporting a 1.16 goals against average and a stellar .820 save percentage. She allowed just 22 goals, while stopping 100 shots.
Mount Holyoke, which remained among the top 20 in the nation for the entire season, opened the 2014 campaign in impressive fashion, going 3-0 before suffering a 2-0 loss to then-#12 Amherst. The Lyons rebounded with three more wins before shouldering a narrow 2-1 loss to then-#10 Wellesley. Mount Holyoke was back to its winning ways quickly, as the squad went on a 10-0 run to close out the regular season.
Among the victories in the 10-0 streak included Clark, Smith, Springfield, Babson, WPI, Western New England, MIT, Westfield State and Wheaton.
Awards, rankings and honors were plentiful for the Lyons throughout the course of the season, including two Offensive Performer of the Week awards for Kilburn. DiCesare was a two-time Defensive Performer of the Week selection, while sophomore Ruvimbo Mushavi was honored once on the defensive side.
Four players were named to the NEWMAC All-Conference Teams, including First Team honorees Kilburn, DiCesare and LaQuerre. Mushavi was a Second Team selection. Regionally, Kilburn and DiCesare earned All-New England East Region First Team honors, while LaQuerre, Mushavi and senior defender Allison Slysz were on the Second Team. Capping the honors were Kilburn and DiCesare, who garnered NFHCA All-American and ECAC All-Star honors. Kilburn was a Second Team All-American for the second straight season, as well as an ECAC First Team honoree, while DiCesare was an All-America Third Team selection and also named to the ECAC Second Team.
The team also finished the season ranked 13th in Division III, never falling out of the national rankings after their September 24, 2013 entry into the top-20.
Academically, the Lyons continued to show their dominance as eight student-athletes were tabbed to the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team. The team also garnered NFHCA Academic Squad recognition for the 17th-straight season, while 17 student-athletes were named to the organization's National Academic Team. Additionally, first years Kaitlin Braz, Perekslis and Kathryn Rawson were named NFHCA Scholars of Distinction, awarded to student-athletes who have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.90 or higher through their first semester.
• Finished second in the NEWMAC standings
• Earned NCAA Tournament At-Large bid
• Qualified for the NEWMAC Tournament for the 16th consecutive season
• Four student-athletes named to NEWMAC All-Conference Teams
• Longstreth/NFHCA All-New England Region First Team – Kirsten Kilburn '15 & Liz DiCesare '17
• Longstreth/NFHCA All-New England Region Second Team – Sarah LaQuerre '16 & Ruvimbo Mushavi '17 & Allison Slysz '15
• Longstreth/NFHCA All-America Second Team – Kirsten Kilburn '15
• Longstreth/NFHCA All-America Third Team – Liz DiCesare '17
• ECAC All-Star First Team – Kirsten Kilburn '15
• ECAC All-Star Second Team – Liz DiCesare '17
• NEWMAC Offensive Performer of the Week – Kirsten Kilburn '15 (10/20, 10/27)
• NEWMAC Defensive Performer of the Week – Liz DiCesare (9/22, 10/14)
• NEWMAC Defensive Performer of the Week – Ruvimbo Mushavi '17 (11/3)
• ECAC Offensive Player of the Week –Kirsten Kilburn '15 (10/29)
• ECAC Defensive Player of the Week – Liz DiCesare '17 (9/24)
• Eight student-athletes earn NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honors
• Team recognized for NFHCA Academic Team honors for the 17th straight season
• 17 student-athletes named to NFHCA National Academic Squad
• Kaitlin Braz '18, Sophie Perekslis '18 & Kathryn Rawson '18 earned NFHCA Scholar of Distinction Award