Fencing teams outduel NYU

After losing many top competitors, the men’s and women’s fencing teams’ outlook for the season was uncertain. One win against New York University later, the Bulldogs have more than made up for the absence of their veterans.

Both the men’s and women’s fencing teams beat NYU in their meets on Tuesday. The women’s team won 17-10, while the men’s team won 14-13.

The women won decisively for the second year in a row, while the men had a harder time with their Violet counterparts. At one point, the men’s team trailed the Violets 4-10, but they the deficit to two with three bouts to go. Foil team members Daniel Senft ’03, Nathan Elchert ’05 and Cory Werk ’06 won each of their bouts to clinch the victory for the Bulldogs.

Elchert started his final bout down 0-3, but like many of his teammates in their matches, he battled from behind to defeat NYU’s Michael Pasinkoff 5-3.

“Nathan’s comeback was huge,” epee captain James Rohrbach ’05 said. “He acted like a true competitor by never giving up.”

Werk, who won the foil competition at the Penn State Invitational Nov. 22, defeated Gabriel Sinkin 5-0 to seal the win for the Bulldogs.

Last year the men’s team lost to NYU 18-9, and according to Yale fencers, this year’s match was supposed to be equally challenging. Head coach Henry Harutunian said that he was nervous going into the meet, but the outcome proved to him that this year’s squad has the potential to do very well this season.

“I knew NYU would be a dangerous match for us after last year,” Harutunian said. “But the guts of my team and their desire to win made the difference in the end for us.”

In the individual weapons, Yale went 6-3 in foil, 3-6 in epee, and 5-4 in sabre. Senft and men’s captain Byron Igoe ’04 were 3-0 in foil and sabre, respectively.

The performance of the women’s team met the expectations of Harutunian, who said that he had high hopes for his team in the meet. Despite losing many of the experienced players from last year’s team, the Bulldogs still dominated their Violet counterparts.

“The women’s team is starting a new career for itself,” Harutunian said. “After losing so much experience, they have really had to start from scratch.”

Saberists Sophie Jones ’03, Carly Guss ’06 and Meredith Hughes ’05 combined for a 4-5 score. Jones, however, went 3-0 in her sabre bouts, defeating Priya Narayanan, who competed in the NCAA tournament in 2002.

In epee competition, Erika Korb ’05, Katie Burghardt ’05 and captain Sarah Senk ’03 combined for a 6-3 record against the Violets, with Korb winning all three of her bouts.

“Sophie and I both did a good job of keeping our focus in some of the less challenging matches,” Korb said.

The Bulldogs dominated the Violets in foil, winning seven of the nine bouts. Justine Aw ’06 contributed three wins to the scoreboard for Yale.

Sabre captain Jones said that the meet against NYU was important preparation for the Bulldogs’ upcoming meet against Cornell this weekend. Cornell will be the first Ivy League match for Yale this season.

“After winning Ivies last year, we really needed to come out strong from the beginning,” Jones said. “I think we accomplished that against NYU.”

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Laura Warren
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