W. fencers excel, men fall at home

After their first home match of the season Tuesday, the fencing team left Payne Whitney Gymnasium split between satisfaction and disappointment.

The women topped New York University by a convincing 18-9 margin, but the men fell, 10-17, to the Violets. Both the men and women were only able to dominate one weapon — epee for the men and sabre for the women — but the women were able to earn close victories in the other two classes to earn an overall victory.

For the men, despite the overall team loss, the epee fencers said they had plenty to be proud of.

“We know we did the best we could have,” Michael Pearce ’09 said.

Pearce, who won all three of his bouts, helped the epee fencers beat NYU, 6-3. Unfortunately, a solid performance from just one of the three squads was not enough to carry the Bulldogs.

“The problem is that my part of the team did really well, but the other part of the team didn’t,” epee captain John Beski ’07 said.

In sabre, the Bulldogs were on the opposite end of a 6-3 decision, decidedly losing to the Violets. Chris Peterson ’07 contributed two of the squad’s three victories. In foil, the situation was even less bright — Kawing Cho ’07 earned the Elis’ only win.

While the women only narrowly won the epee and foil competitions, they said they were pleased with their overall performance.

“I was very happy with how it went,” captain Isadora Botwinick ’06 said. “We beat NYU resoundingly.”

From the start of the match, the Bulldogs were focused. Knowing that to beat NYU they had to win at least 14 of the 27 bouts, the Bulldogs played hard in each individual contest. Those who were not competing cheered on their teammates, determined to make every match count.

“Everybody was really into how they were fencing right from the start,” Botwinick said.

Yale topped NYU, 8-1, in the sabre, coming back to win several close matches.

“There were a lot of turnarounds, and we managed to win eight out of our nine bouts,” Sada Jacobson ’06 said. “I think that shows a lot of experience on the part of the women’s sabre squad.”

Jacobson, who earned a bronze medal in women’s sabre in the 2004 Summer Olympics, won both of her contests. The senior gave up only one point and amassed a sizable lead before being replaced by Genevieve Tauxe ’07.

The Bulldogs beat the Violets by a narrower margin of 5-4 in both epee and foil. The team was helped by 3-0 shutouts by Diana Schawlowski ’08 in foil and Carly Guss ’07 in sabre.

Overall, the women said they were thrilled with the outcome.

“I thought that was a really great way to open the season,” Jacobson said.

Both teams are traveling to Waltham, Mass., this weekend to compete in the Brandeis Invitational. While the women look to continue their success, the men are hoping for a turnaround.

“For this weekend, we’re going to try to be a little bit more focused,” Beski said.

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