New York University played host to the Yale fencing squads this past Thursday at the Coles Sports Center. The Yale women’s team (2-0) dominated the Violets in a 22-5 win, while the Bulldog men (0-1) fell 18-9.
Saturday, the women went on to conquer Cornell 19-8 at home.
The Cornell match was a reassuring win for the Yale women. The Elis beat the Big Red solidly in the foil, 8-1, and the saber, 7-2. The epee event was close, with Cornell pulling off a 5-4 victory.
“It was nice to see the team do so well,” team captain Zane Selkirk ’04 said. “[We've] put in more work than I can believe, already.”
The team got some strong individual efforts from its sophomores. Sada Jacobson (saber), Jennifer Joseph (foil), and Selkirk (foil) each went undefeated in her respective event.
Head coach Henry Harutunian was pleased with Yale’s performance. Yet both he and the team were quick to admit that Cornell was not the most competitive fencing school the Bulldogs will face.
“Neither team was level with what I expected,” Harutunian said. “They weren’t really prepared.”
Yale’s solid showing still bodes well for the tougher matches in the spring, however.
“There’s no question in my mind that we can beat [the tougher schools], namely Princeton,” Selkirk said.
Selkirk’s confidence partly stemmed from the women’s victory over NYU.
The Eli women came out strong in every weapon, holding the Violets to just two bout wins in both the saber and the epee competitions, 7-2. Yale’s greatest show of strength came in the foil, Selkirk’s own weapon, taking eight of the nine bouts.
The men had a more disappointing round. The Violets had solid wins in both the epee, 7-2, and the foil, 6-3. While the saber fight was hotly contested, NYU managed to edge out the Bulldogs for a 5-4 victory.
“It’s just a difference in years,” Harutunian said. “The past few years [the men] won easily. Last year it was harder. This year they had some more experienced people in the squad, and, bingo, that was it.”
In terms of the upcoming spring season, Harutunian is cautiously optimistic.
“You can’t tell yet how we will do against some of the tougher schools,” Harutunian said. “But I’m pleased with what’s happening now.”
After this initial bout, the Bulldogs will have a long break to practice and progress. Though at the moment the academic world is taking up a lot of time, the team feels it will be ready for its next match.
“Practice is waning now,” Selkirk said. “But we’re coming back Jan. 5 to get back in gear.”
The fencing team’s match play starts up again Jan. 18.