CHANDLER, Ariz. - The Mount Holyoke College field hockey team has been recognized by the 2015 ZAG Field Hockey/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) as one of the top academic teams in Division III. The Lyons also saw 16 student-athletes named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad, while two garnered Scholar of Distinction recognition.
One of 129 schools to be recognized, Mount Holyoke, which posted a team grade point average of 3.47, has been one of the top squads over the last 18 years, earning Academic Squad honors in each year of head coach Andy Whitcomb's career.
Earning Scholar of Distinction honors this season were sophomores Kaitlin Braz (Tolland, Conn./East Catholic) 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 2015-16 academic year.
Mount Holyoke's individuals named to the National Academic Squad were senior Julia Bell (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson), Braz, junior Liz DiCesare (Westford, Mass./Bishop Guertin), first year Mirjam Keochakian (Hamburg, Germany/Deerfield Academy), sophomore Julia Lankin (West Hartford, Conn./Conard), senior captain Sarah LaQuerre (Old Orchard Beach, Maine/Cheverus), junior Rachel Lenihan (Westport, Conn./Joel Barlow), junior captain Ruvimbo Mushavi (Harare, Zimbabwe/Arundel School), first year Colby Newsham (Harvard, Mass./Bromfield School), sophomore Isabella Olgaard (Houston, Texas/Episcopal), sophomore Sophie Perekslis (Millerton, N.Y./Berkshire School), first year Kristina Ramsden (Florence, Mass./Northampton), Rawson, junior Jessica Taylor (West Springfield, Mass./West Springfield), junior Ally Tessier (Coventry, R.I./Portsmouth Abbey School) and junior Charlotte Wagner (West Chester, Pa./Westtown School).
Additionally, LaQuerre is making her fourth straight appearance on the National Academic Squad. Of the 16 student-athletes recognized to the National squad, 11 had a grade point average higher than 3.50. Additionally, the Lyons were one of just 11 teams in the nation to have at least 16 honorees amongst the 145 schools that had individual honorees.
This year's NFHCA Division III top five teams were Elizabethtown College (3.70), Marywood University (3.63), Earlham College (3.62), Salisbury University (3.61) and Wells College (3.60).
Led by 18th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Lyons went 15-7 with a 5-3 record in the NEWMAC. The squad finished tied for third in the conference standings, but battled through the playoffs to win the program's third NEWMAC Tournament Championship with a 2-1 shootout win against Wellesley. The Lyons earned the conference's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament as well.
It was the program's fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament - all under Whitcomb's guidance - and the third straight. MHC shouldered a tough loss in the First Round, falling 3-1 at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Six student-athletes capped the season in double-digits for points, while three were named NEWMAC All-Conference, including two on the First Team. Additionally, four were named to the Longstreth/NFHCA New England East Region Teams, including First Team honorees DiCesare, LaQuerre and Mushavi.
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 2015 academic year. Those named to the National Academic Squad, must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.30 or higher through the Fall of 2015.