W. fencing hits bump at H-Y-P

The women’s fencing team’s lunge for the Ivy League crown fell just short.

The Bulldogs, who came into the weekend tied for second in the Ancient Eight, faltered at H-Y-P in Cambridge to drop into a three-way tie for third. The Elis were overmatched by eventual Ivy League champions Harvard 22-5 and fell to Princeton 17-10. Yale wrapped up its regular season on Sunday with a nonconference win over Rutgers 21-6 at home to finish the season 6-3 and 2-3 in the Ivies.

“Harvard has a great team and is strong in every squad so I’m not disappointed in our performance against them,” captain Erica Korb ’05 said. “We went out there and did our best even though we knew we were facing some really tough opponents.”

Harvard swept the sabre competition 9-0. The two wins of Isadora Botwinick ’06 were not enough for the epee squad, which fell 6-3. Alisa Mendelsohn ’07 and Diana Schawlowski ’08 picked up Yale’s only victories in the foil.

Harvard’s dominating victory capped off a historic day and season for the Crimson. The women’s fencing team, who beat Princeton 19-8, won its first ever Ivy League title and had its first undefeated season. Harvard’s men squad also swept H-Y-P en route to a split of the league championship — its first since 1977 — with Columbia.

While proud of her team’s gutsy performance against the talented Crimson, Korb felt Yale squandered an opportunity to defeat Princeton.

“Princeton only won our meet by three bouts which I think means we should have beaten them,” Korb said. “Aside from the fact that we were competing without our number one fencer and definitely would have won if she’d been there, there were certainly at least three bouts we lost that we could have potentially won.”

The Elis were missing Olympic bronze medalist Sada Jacobson ’06.

Princeton jumped out to a strong lead taking saber 7-2. Yale kept it close in the epee and foil, but ultimately fell 4-5 in both weapons. Korb and Schawlowski’s two wins a piece paced the epee and foil squads respectively.

After starting the season 5-0, and 2-0 in the Ivies, the blazing Bulldogs fizzled down the stretch. Mendelsohn looks to two matches that could have significantly turned their season around.

“We probably could have beaten Columbia and Princeton,” Mendelsohn said. “We fenced well against them, but there were a lot of close bouts that had they gone in our direction would’ve made the difference.”

After an exhausting Saturday, the Elis came back home for their regular season finale against Rutgers. Yale did not disappoint, sweeping Rutgers in all three weapons. Mendelsohn and Schawlowski led the foil squad to an 8-1 victory by winning three bouts a piece. Shannon Murtagh ’06 and Carly Guss ’06 swept their opponents on the way to a 7-2 win in the sabre. The epee squad’s 6-3 decision was highlighted by Korb’s three wins.

Korb said that the dominating victory over Rutgers was the perfect ending to an overall impressive season for the Bulldogs.

“Coming back after such an intense day and competing again wasn’t easy,” Korb said. “But we still were able to crush Rutgers, which was a very satisfying end to the season. Our last set of team meets was a success and I am really proud of the team for making it through such a long weekend … this was still a great season for us and we had some really phenomenal days.”

Yale has a few weeks to rest before a month of crucial competitions. The Bulldogs hope to notch a solid team performance at the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships in late February. The Elis will compete individually in the NCAA Regional to qualify for the NCAA Championships in March.

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