Under the direction of 20th-year head coach Andy Whitcomb, the Mount Holyoke field hockey returned to the NEWMAC playoffs for the 19th straight season, compiling an overall record of 12-6 while posting a 5-3 mark in conference play.
The Lyons opened the season at home on a strong note as sophomore goalie Morgan Turner posted three saves to earn her first collegiate victory in a 2-0 win against Rensselaer. MHC then shouldered a tough 3-2 defeat at the hands of nationally ranked Amherst on the turf field, despite a late goal from junior midfielder Liz Delorme.
Mount Holyoke then took to the road for a pair, kicking things off with a 3-1 win at Castleton behind a two-goal effort from junior captain and midfielder Colby Newsham. Despite the momentum, the Lyons could not keep the winning streak going, falling at nationally ranked Williams by a 3-0 margin.
A three-game winning stretch quickly followed as the Lyons outscored their opponents by a 13-2 margin. Junior middie Mirjam Keochakian's three goals powered MHC to a 6-1 conference win over Clark to open the stretch, followed by tallies from five different scorers to launch the Lyons past Thomas, 5-0. Keochakian then helped lift MHC to a 2-1 win over Wesleyan with a second-half tally.
The Lyons then jumped right into the heart of the conference season, starting things off with a pair of tough losses at MIT (4-2) and against Babson (3-1) at home. With the dawn of October, the squad took off with a 7-1 run through the month to close out the regular season. MHC bested Springfield (4-2), Wellesley (3-2), Simmons (2-0), Wheaton (5-2), Western New England (4-3), Westfield State (10-4) and WPI (3-0) with its only loss coming at Smith (2-0) in the second to last NEWMAC contest of the year.
MHC's outstanding streak to close out the regular season helped the squad earn their 19th straight appearance in the NEWMAC Tournament. The Lyons, who were the fourth seed, hosted fifth-seeded Springfield on the turf. The two teams battled hard, but a three-goal effort from the Pride's top player led the visitors past MHC, 3-2.
Leading the way for the Lyons for during the 2017 season was senior captain and forward Sophie Perekslis, who boasted a team-best 16 goals with two assists for 34 points. She added 62 shots, including 48 on goal, with five game-winning tallies. Perekslis finished third in the NEWMAC in goals and was fourth in overall points.
Keochakian was second on the team in scoring; posting nine goals and a team-high nine assists for 27 points. She finished the year ranked second among the conferences best in helpers. Newsham rounded out the top three with 24 points, finishing second in goals with nine and adding six assists.
Defensively, the Lyons were led by senior captain and blueliner Kathryn Rawson, who led the team and was fourth in the conference in defensive saves with four and added three goals and five assists. Keochakian added three defensive stops.
In goal, Turner saw the majority of action with 11-6 record during the 2017 campaign. She had a 1.77 goals against average with a .724 save percentage. Through 17 games, she allowed just 29 goals, recording 76 saves over 1148:48 minutes of action. Rookie Gianna Molinari saw action in three games, including one start, going 1-0 overall. She allowed three goals on the year for a 2.40 GAA and a .500 save percentage over 87:37. Also appearing in three games was first year Maddie Miller, who played 32:54 minutes of action, recording one save.
Awards, rankings and honors were once again plentiful for the Lyons throughout the course of the season as Perekslis and Newsham both garnered NEWMAC Offensive Athlete of the Week recognition. Three players were named to the NEWMAC All-Conference Teams, including First Team honorees Perekslis and Keochakian. Senior captain and midfielder Kaitlin Braz was a Second Team selection. Perekslis was also tabbed to the NEWMAC All-Sportsmanship Team. Regionally, Perekslis earned All-New England East Region First Team honors, while Keochakian and Braz were on the Second Team.
The Lyons also continued to show their dominance in the classroom as 12 student-athletes were tabbed to the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference Team. Additionally, the Lyons earned NFHCA National Academic Team honors for the 20th straight season, posting 18 individually to the National Academic Squad, while three earned Scholar of Distinction honors for boasting a 3.90 or higher GPA.
• Finished tied for third in the NEWMAC standings
• Qualified for the NEWMAC Tournament for the 19th consecutive season
• Three student-athletes named to NEWMAC All-Conference Teams
• Longstreth/NFHCA All-New England Region First Team – Sophie Perekslis '18
• NEWMAC Offensive Performer of the Week –Perekslis (10/10) & Colby Newsham '19 (10/30)
• 12 student-athletes earn NEWMAC Academic All-Conference honors
• Team garnered NFHCA National Team recognition for 20th straight season
• 18 student-athletes named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad
• Three student-athletes garner Scholar of Distinction honors (3.90 GPA or higher)
• Kaitlin Braz '18 named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District At-Large First Team