The Bulldogs got in their last swings at their hapless non-conference foes the Red Foxes, Black Knights and Brewers for a final tuneup before they face the heat of the conference championship this coming Sunday in Philadelphia.
The Elis turned in a perfect performance in Poughkeepsie in their last meet before the Ivy South competition. The men’s squad won all three of their dual meets against Vassar, Army and Marist to raise their record to 9-6, while the women’s squad notched two convincing victories against Vassar and Marist to push their season mark to 10-4.
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“I think we had a really good showing against Vassar,” captain Michael Aboodi ’07 said. “We saw what little things that we can work on, the technical things. We have this week now to practice and get our intensity up and go to Ivy South and do our best.”
The men’s epee squad built on last Wednesday’s 9-0 sweep of Sacred Heart by winning seven of its nine bouts, breaking an overall 9-9 match tie. With the 16-11 victory, the Elis resoundingly avenged last year’s 14-13 heartbreaker against the Brewers.
The team’s younger members are gaining valuable experience heading into the Ivy South competition this weekend, which pits the six Ancient Eight varsity programs against each other this weekend. The Bulldogs are hoping to unseat a powerful Columbia team that has won at least a share of the Ivy League title for the past five years, as well as a Harvard team that split the title with the Lions last spring and then went on to win the National Championship.
“It was close, but I think everyone pulled together,” John Gurrieri ’10 said. “The freshmen are learning to compete better and to train better in college. The team was more focused, and we were cheering each other on and that definitely helped a lot. The team mentality really helps you out.”
The women’s squad continued their impressive season performance against teams from Vassar and Marist. The Bulldogs have won 66 of their last 81 bouts and posted a perfect 27-0 score against Marist. Against the Brewers, the women posted an 18-9 record but the epee squad fell 7-2. Both the sabre and foil squads won in convincing fashion, 8-1.
The shutout was the first time in three seasons that any Yale team, either men’s or women’s, has accomplished such a feat. The win is a positive sign for the women’s squad heading into conference competition, as the Elis hope to win their first Ivy League title since the 2001-’02 season.
“We have high expectations,” Rebecca Moss ’10 said. “We’re not going to make any predictions about who we’re going to beat, but I think we’re going to do pretty well.”
The Elis are managing to record their most successful season in recent history despite a profusion of youth on the roster.
“We started all freshmen against Marist, and we did really well.” Erin Frey ’08 said.
In the USFCA college fencing coaches’ poll, Harvard is ranked No. 1 on the men’s side and No. 3 on the women’s. Columbia and Penn are in also in the top 10 in both divisions. Although the Elis received votes, neither the men’s nor women’s squads managed a rank in the most recent poll.