An event so long it needed a lunch break was just one of several factors limiting a Yale men’s fencing squad. But not even eight hours on the mats could slow a dominant women’s team.
In the Brandeis Invitational on Sunday, held in Waltham, Mass., the men walked away with a 2-3 performance, and the women stole the show with a 5-0 shutout. The match included teams from MIT, Boston College, St. John’s, Brown and Brandeis, the host school.
The men’s fencing team was able to put away matches against MIT and BC, but fell short in their other matches. The Elis lost by only three to Brown, 15-12, but fell by margins of seven and nine against Brandeis and St. John’s, respectively.
In the Elis’ first match of the day, Yale faltered against the Red Storm, coming away with an 18-9 loss. All three Yale weapons suffered 6-3 losses.
Against MIT, Yale prevailed, 14-13. Both Matt Chaikin ’08 and Michael Pearce ’09 contributed 3-0 victories as both the sabre and epee squads won, 6-3. But it was an undermanned foil squad that ended up delivering the decisive blow.
The Bulldogs were competing with a second-string foil squad, missing Chie-yu Lin ’06 to a medical school interview. Also, Cory Werk ’06, who has been one of the Elis’ major contributors over the past 3 years, decided not to fence this season. So it was not surprising that the foil squad faltered throughout the tournament.
But against MIT, the foil squad’s best proved to be just enough. Ethan Wais ’07 came through with the decisive 14th win, allowing Yale to claim the victory despite a 2-7 foil record.
Against Brandeis, Yale lost, 17-10. The foil squad was unable to win even one bout. The sabre and epee squads were not able to do much better, claiming three and two bouts, respectively.
Yale won its second match against Boston College. The sabre squad came through with an 8-1 victory and the epee squad also won, 6-3. The foil squad lost, 3-6.
Yale’s last match of the day was the loss to Brown. Both the sabre and foil squads lost, 2-7. As usual, the epee squad came through, this time with an 8-1 victory. Both Steve Miller ’08 and Pearce, whose combined score for the tournament was 13-2, contributed 3-0 victories.
Pearce said while the Elis as a whole had mixed results, he was pleased with his performance and those of his fellow epee fencers.
“I and the epee squad fenced our best, and that’s what matters,” he said.
Both teams were at the invitational for close to 8 hours.
“The farther you get into the competition, people start to get tired,” women’s captain Isadora Botwinick ’06 said. “By the time you fence three, four, five schools you just want to go home.”
The women’s first competition of the day was St. John’s, a perennial fencing powerhouse. Sada Jacobson ’06 said the Elis had considered the matchup likely to be their toughest of the day, and winning that matchup was a big confidence-booster.
“The other schools were really schools that we had expected to beat and had beaten in the past,” Jacobson said.
The Elis defeated the Red Storm by a slim 15-12 margin. In each weapon, the final score was fairly close. The Bulldogs topped St. John’s in sabre, 5-4, and were at the reverse end of that decision in epee. The deciding weapon was foil, and a 6-3 score gave the Bulldogs the victory.
The highlight of the Brown match, Yale’s first Ivy League competition of the season and a 16-11 Eli win, was the undefeated foil team. Alisa Mendelsohn ’07, Diana Schawlowski ’08 and Jennifer Cohen ’09 all contributed 3-0 marks. The Bulldogs were unable to beat Brown by a larger margin due to the epee squad’s 2-7 loss.
Against Boston College, the Bulldogs posted another 16-11 victory. The epee team was able to rebound, beating the Eagles, 7-2. Botwinick went 3-0, and both Tejas Srinivas ’07 and Ann Nguyen ’07 finished 2-1. The sabre squad won, 5-4, and the foil squad lost, 4-5.
Yale’s sabre and foil squads contributed 8-1 victories against MIT. The epee squad again struggled, posting a 2-7 score. Cohen, who went 2-1 in foil, came through for the Bulldogs, winning the 14th and
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