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The men’s fencing team (2-8, 0-3 Ivy) and women’s fencing team (5-6, 0-3) had been gearing up for the start of the conference season for weeks. Unfortunately for the Elis, the early results are not what they had hoped for.

The Bulldogs lost to Penn (4-4, 1-2 men; 7-2, 2-1 women), Harvard (7-0, 2-0 men; 7-1, 3-0 women) and Columbia (4-4, 3-1 men; 7-2, 3-1 women) on Feb. 5 in Ithaca, N.Y., on the first weekend of Ivy League fencing, matching up with nationally and internationally experienced foes. Despite the fact that many of the fencers had faced each other before, team members said there was a high standard of competition. Although both Yale fencing teams fell to the Quakers, the Crimson and the Lions, the Bulldogs said they were still proud of their performances.

Both the men’s and the women’s teams were defeated by Penn with respective scores of 19-8 and 21-6. Against the Quakers, Christopher Peterson ’07 and Diana Schawlowski ’08 both emerged undefeated from their individual events, with Peterson going 3-0 in the saber and Schawlowski going 3-0 in the foil. These accomplishments were still not enough to bring squad wins for either team, though.

The match with the Quakers was especially trying for the men, seeing as they came out on the defeated side of six 5-4 decisions.

“[Against] Penn it could have easily gone the other way for us,” said Mike Pearce ’09, who took home two victories for the epee squad.

On the women’s side of the match against the opponents from Philadelphia, Carly Guss ’06 went 2-1 in the saber and Anne Nguyen ’07 claimed the only Yale victory in the epee.

Despite the earlier loss to the Quakers, the Bulldogs seemed to take the defeat at the hands of the Crimson with grace by putting the competition into perspective.

“Harvard is above and beyond the strongest team this year,” Pearce said. “That we could put up such a good fight against them, I’m really, really happy.”

The Harvard women’s team was particularly challenging because it claims five returning first team All-Ivy fencers on its roster.

The men faced two first team All-Ivy athletes in the saber, resulting in a 9-0 loss. Pearce took home two wins in the epee, although the Bulldogs fell, 6-3, in that weapon. Cory Werk ’06 claimed the only two victories in the foil, defeating first team All-Ivy selection Enoch Woodhouse to prevent a sweep.

The women also boasted impressive individual performances against the Cantabs from Erin Frey ’08 and captain Isadora Botwinick ’06. Frey swept her saber competition, 3-0, contributing to the women’s only weapon win of the day.

“That [win in the saber] shows that when we’re fencing a difficult school, we can rise to the occasion,” said Guss, who rounded out the saber victory with a score of 2-1.

Botwinick finished with a 2-1 result in the epee, but there were no wins in the foil event.

In the final match of the day against the Lions, the two Eli teams fared quite differently. While the women were swept by the Lions, the men managed their only squad win of the weekend. Led by captain John Beski ’07, the men’s epee team earned a 6-3 victory.

“We overcame a particularly strong squad,” Beski said. “We were able to not make mistakes.”

An undefeated Pearce contributed to the epee win, while Beski went 2-1. Peterson claimed the only Yale victory in the saber event, and Werk beat first team All-Ivy Scott Sugimoto 7-2 in the foil.

The women were incredibly consistent against the Lions. Unfortunately for the Elis, it was consistent losses.

“Columbia is a very good team all around, so it’s not likely to do better against one squad,” Genevieve Tauxe ’07 said.

Tauxe and her teammates lost, 7-2, in all three events. Botwinick, Nguyen, Alisa Mendelsohn ’07, Schawlowski, Guss and Tauxe all finished with 1-2 scores against their rivals from Columbia.

Next weekend the Bulldogs will continue Ivy competition, taking on Brown and Princeton.

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