INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The NCAA Division III Field Hockey Committee has announced the field of 24 teams which will compete in the 2015 NCAA Championship and Mount Holyoke College has been matched up against Stevens Institute of Technology in the First Round. It marks the first-ever match-up between the two programs. Game time will be at 5pm in Hoboken, N.J.
The Lyons, who earned the automatic qualifier after winning the NEWMAC Championship on Sunday, are making their fifth trip in program history to the NCAA Tournament and the third consecutive appearance having advancing to the Second Round in both 2013 and 2014.
Led by 18th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Lyons are 15-6 on the season, posting a 5-3 mark in conference play – which was good for a three-way tie for third in the final standings. MHC, which was the fifth-seed - after the tie-breaker was applied - in the NEWMAC Tournament, defeated Wellesley by a 2-1 margin in a shootout to win the third championship title in program history.
Mount Holyoke - which has now won 10 of its last 11 games - had an outstanding tournament, defeating fourth-seeded MIT, 2-1 in the quarterfinals, before blanking top-seeded Babson, 1-0 in double-overtime on Saturday to advance to its third straight NEWMAC Championship appearance.
The Lyons have continued to put forth a strong effort across the board and rank among the NEWMAC's best in a number of categories, including first in saves (157) and defensive saves (7). MHC is also second in shots (348), goals (64), goals per game (3.0), save percentage (.840) and assists (44). The Lyons also rank third in shots per game (16.6), penalty corners (195) and goals against average (1.36) and fourth in saves (112).
Individually, the Lyons are led by junior goalkeeper and this year's NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin, who is 14-6 on the season. She owns a 1.23 goals against average with a .853 save percentage over 1361:32 minutes of action.
DiCesare - who posted 45 saves in three games during the NEWMAC Tournament - currently leads the conference in saves (139) and is second in save percentage (.853) and shutouts (7). She also ranks third in goals against average and is fifth in fewest goals allowed (24).
Offensively, junior forward Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School) paces the way with 19 goals and 11 assists for 49 points. She currently leads the NEWMAC in goals, points, shots (99) and shots on goal (65). Wagner is also second in assists and game-winning goals (5).
Sophomore midfielder Sophie Perekslis (Millerton, N.Y./Berkshire School) is currently second overall with 15 goals and three assists for 33 points. She is third in the NEWMAC in goals and fifth in points. Senior forward Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson) rounds out the top-three with eight goals and four assists for 20 points.
Stevens earned its ticket into the NCAA Tournament on Saturday after scoring three unanswered goals enroute to a 4-1 win over top-seeded Ithaca College in the Empire 8 Tournament. It marked the first title since 2010 for the Ducks, and the first for a three-seed in the history of the championship. Senior midfielder Dailyn Brook was named the most valuable player after tallying nine points off four goals and an assist in the two games.
Under the direction of first-year head coach Amber Corcoran, Stevens enters the NCAA Tournament with a 13-7 overall record. The Ducks went 5-3 in Empire 8 action, led by Brook, who has 14 goals and seven assists for 35 points this season. Sophomore forward Victoria Alvarez has 12 goals and eight assists for 32 points, while junior midfielder Nolie Prouty rounds out the top three with seven goals and 13 assists for 27 points.
Defensively, the Ducks have seen junior Emily Stukenborg play the majority of time in goal. Currently, she has a 13-6 record, boasting a 1.82 goals against average and a .773 save percentage. Stukenborg has notched two shutouts on the season with 35 goals allowed over 1342:38 of action.
The winner of Wednesday's First Round game will advance to Saturday's Second Round, where they will travel to the fifth-ranked team in the nation, Ursinus College. The Bears enter this year's tournament with a 17-3 record, winning their third straight Centennial Conference title on Sunday against Franklin & Marshall.