It was another incredible season for the Mount Holyoke College field hockey team, led by 18th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb. The Lyons posted a record of 15-7, going 5-3 in NEWMAC play. MHC returned to the conference tournament for the 17th straight season as well, capping the season with its third NEWMAC Tournament title and its third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
After an up-and-down season against a number of tough opponents, the Lyons rebounded from a tough loss at MIT in late October to grab two wins and secure its spot in the conference playoffs. Seeded fifth overall, the Lyons traveled back to Cambridge in the opening round to face fourth-seeded MIT. Mount Holyoke got first half goals from senior forward Julia Bell and junior forward Charlotte Wagner, while third-year goalie Liz DiCesare held off the Engineers with 15 saves to advance the Lyons to the NEWMAC Semifinals once again.
The Lyons traveled to top-seeded Babson for the Semifinals, looking for the same magic that led them to a 1-0 victory over the Beavers during the regular season. The magic was still there as junior captain and defender Ruvimbo Mushavi catapulted MHC into the title game with her first career goal nearly five minutes into the second overtime to give the Lyons the 1-0 2OT victory and advance to the conference championship for the third straight season.
Mount Holyoke found itself once again locked in a familiar battle for the NEWMAC crown, squaring-off against second-seeded Wellesley. The two squads went scoreless through 100 minutes of action to set up a dramatic shootout for the title and automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. First year midfielder Colby Newsham stepped up first and got it past the Blue keeper to put the Lyons up 1-0. DiCesare held strong, stopping all four of Wellesley's shots, while Wagner put in the second tally for MHC to give the squad its third conference title in program history.
Mount Holyoke advanced into the NCAA Tournament via its automatic bid, shouldering a tough 3-1 loss on the road at Stevens Institute of Technology in the First Round to conclude its outstanding season.
Leading the way for the Lyons was Wagner, who tallied 19 goals with 12 assists for a team-best 50 points. She added a conference-high 104 shots, including 68 on goal, with five game-winning tallies. Wagner finished as the NEWMAC leader in goals, points and shots on goal.
Sophomore forward Sophie Perekslis notched 15 goals with three assists for 33 points to finish second overall, while senior captain and midfielder Sarah LaQuerre had six goals and nine assists for 21 points. Bell added eight goals with four assists for 20 points and first year midfielder Kristina Ramsden rounded out the top five with six goals and five assists for 17 points.
In goal, DiCesare had a 14-7 record, sporting a 1.32 goals against average and a stellar .847 save percentage. She allowed just 27 goals, while stopping 149 shots.
Mount Holyoke, which opened the season among the top 20 in the nation, opened the 2015 campaign with a tough stretch, going 1-2 with losses to RPI and Amherst in back-to-back contests. The Lyons rebounded quickly with a 3-1 run over its next four games. MHC went on to finish the season 8-3, including wins over Clark, Simmons, Springfield, Babson, WPI, Western New England and Westfield State.
Awards, rankings and honors were plentiful for the Lyons throughout the course of the season, including Offensive Performer of the Week for Wagner and a Defensive Performer of the Week nod to DiCesare.
Three players were named to the NEWMAC All-Conference Teams, including First Team honorees LaQuerre and Mushavi. DiCesare was a Second Team selection. Regionally, LaQuerre, Mushavi and DiCesare earned All-New England East Region First Team honors, while Wagner was on the Second Team. Capping the honors was Mushavi, who garnered NFHCA All-American Third Team honors.
Academically, the Lyons continued to show their dominance as six student-athletes were tabbed to the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team. The team also garnered NFHCA Academic Squad recognition for the 18th-straight season, while 16 student-athletes were named to the organization's National Academic Team. Additionally, sophomores Kaitlin Braz 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 tied for third in the NEWMAC standings
• Won the NEWMAC Tournament Championship (3rd in program history; 2001, 2003, 2015)
• Earned NCAA Tournament Automatic Bid bid
• Qualified for the NEWMAC Tournament for the 17th consecutive season
• Three student-athletes named to NEWMAC All-Conference Teams
• Longstreth/NFHCA All-New England Region First Team – Sarah LaQuerre '16, Ruvimbo Mushavi '17 & Liz DiCesare '17
• Longstreth/NFHCA All-New England Region Second Team – Charlotte Wagner '17
• Longstreth/NFHCA All-America Third Team – Ruvimbo Mushavi '17
• NEWMAC Offensive Performer of the Week – Charlotte Wagner (11/3)
• NEWMAC Defensive Performer of the Week – Liz DiCesare (10/19)
• Six student-athletes earn NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honors
• Team recognized for NFHCA Academic Team honors for the 18th straight season
• 16 student-athletes named to NFHCA National Academic Squad
• Kaitlin Braz '18, & Kathryn Rawson '18 earned NFHCA Scholar of Distinction Award