W. fencing redeems itself against Cornell

On Saturday, Yale women’s fencing experienced some technical difficulties. But the Bulldogs still managed to defeat Cornell 18-9 at home.

The win could not have come at a better time. After a one-bout 14-13 heart-breaker to New York University on Dec. 2, the Elis needed a timely pickup.

“I was incredibly happy with everyone’s performance [against Cornell],” captain Erica Korb ’05 said. “It was great to see everyone come back stronger in the next competition [after the loss to NYU] and get an Ivy win under our belt.”

In the regular season opener against NYU in New York City on Dec. 2, the Bulldogs lost 14-13. Foil was the only Yale group to win their matches, 6-3. The epee fencers lost 4-5, and the sabers went 3-6. When fencing against a single team, there are a total of 27 bouts, nine bouts for each weapon: foil, saber and epee. Whoever gets the majority of bouts wins the contest.

Korb said she felt the team was not performing their strongest against NYU, a competition they have won easily in past years.

“I think that NYU was a good opportunity to see what areas in our competition need improvement,” saber fencer Carly Guss ’06 said.

The Bulldogs turned it all around on Saturday with a win against Cornell. The Eli fencers encountered many difficulties at the competition — the meet ran twice as long as expected because of a missing referee and a missing fencing strip. There were also many problems with the electrical equipment, and Guss, one of Yale’s top saber fencers, competed despite being sick.

Despite these challenges, the Bulldogs were able to remain focused and soundly defeat the Cornell fencers.ÊYale’s foil squad scored a 9-0 sweep, and the saber fencers also won their bouts 5-4. Epee lost 4-5, but this was Cornell’s strongest squad.

The epee squad did have a breakout performance with Katie Burghardt ’05, who won two out of three bouts, taking out two Cornell fencers.ÊAfter besting Cornell’s top two epee fencers, Korb was disappointed with a lost to the Big Red’s weakest fencer.

Justine Aw ’06, Alisa Mendelsohn ’07 and Isadora Botwinick ’06, all fencing in the foil competition, contributed greatly to the team’s success, each sweeping all three of their bouts. Botwinick said she believes that despite the Bulldogs’ stellar performance in her event, there is still room for improvement for the foil fencers.

“Rather than rely on finesse and ‘smart fencing,’ we relied on the Cornell girls’ crumbling when we attacked,” Botwinick said. “But for harder schools we’ll need to focus more on good technique and strategy.”

Even though Guss was sick, the Bulldog saber squad still defeated the Big Red. Guss won two out of her three bouts, and freshmen Shannon Murtagh ’07 and Genevieve Tauxe ’07 each obtained their first college wins.

Like foil fencer Botwinick, Guss sees ways for the saber squad to improve.

“I think that the saberists could be more aggressive while fencing,” she said.

Defeating Cornell was encouraging for the Elis, who are still rebuilding a very young team with only three juniors and no seniors. Against both NYU and Cornell, freshmen have put on strong performances and continue to improve.

They will next compete against Brandeis on Jan. 21.

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