In tight bout, w. fencing falls short of Ivy title

After a pair of 19-8 victories over the ever-ignominious Cantabs, the women’s fencing team was looking to wrap up the Ivy title and the men’s fencing team was looking to finish the season above .500. But Princeton left the hopes of both teams on the strip at H-Y-Ps.

Princeton squeaked by the women (10-3, 4-2 Ivy) 14-13 and dismissed the men (5-6, 2-3 Ivy) 19-8 Saturday. Saberist Sada Jacobson ’04 led the way for the women with a 6-0 record while foil squad member Peter Cellini ’04 won all of his bouts for the men. Epee squad member Candice Frost ’03 also put in a strong performance for the women against Princeton, defeating their top squad members and posting a 2-1 record against the Tigers.

With the Ivy League title on the line against Princeton, the daughters of Eli headed into the last bout with the score tied at 13.

Foil squad member Zane Selkirk ’04, who was undefeated against Princeton going into her final bout, was the women’s hope for an Ivy title.

“There was a lot of pressure,” Selkirk said. “Some of the directors’ calls were against us. We had the odds stacked against us going into the final bout.”

But the pressure of the Princeton match was there from the first bout for the women’s squad.

“The pressure was real intense,” epee squad member Dana Weiss ’01 said. “Some people were saying not to think about how a bout could be the bout that wins Ivies. But it’s hard not to have it on your mind when you know Princeton is thinking the same thing. I knew I would crack under pressure.”

While Selkirk lost the final bout 5-0 to give the Tigers the title, an above average performance from Frost and the close lost were more helpful than hurtful.

“[The loss] inspired people to work hard,” Selkirk said. “It was more exciting than disappointing.”

Against Harvard, it was the women’s overestimation of their opponents’ skills that proved helpful.

“We went into [the match against Harvard] being more concerned than we should have been,” Jacobson said. “We did not underestimate them.”

Harvard never led after any round of competition, ensuring a solid victory for the women that boosted their confidence going into the Princeton match in the afternoon, Jacobson said.

The men’s squad also faltered against Princeton, never recovering from an early 2-7 deficit.

“They were just better than us,” foil squad member Daniel Senft ’03 said. “There’s not much to explain.”

Against Princeton, saber lost 7-2, without its top squad member Byron Igoe ’04, who was out with a broken foot.

“We were missing Byron in saber,” Senft said. “Saber had a hard time being competitive.”

The fencing team will send its top three team members in each weapon to the Intercollegiate Fencing Association championships at Harvard this weekend. The Bulldogs have their hopes set on regaining the “iron man trophy,” which is awarded to the top foil squad at the two-day meet.

“I have one goal, to win the iron man trophy,” Senft said. “Second place would be a disappointment.”

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