FENCING | Men sweep Brandeis

Swords clashed this weekend outside of Boston as the Yale’s (4-0) men’s and women’s fencing teams took on four opponents each. The men swept MIT (3-8 men/7-6 women), Boston College (4-3 men/1-6 women), Brandeis (6-5 men/ 11-2 women) and St. John’s (7-3 men/6-4), and the women defeated all but St. John’s.

“I am ecstatic with today’s results,” captain Mike Pearce ’09 said. “This is the first time in my four years at Yale that we have beaten either Brandeis or St. John’s.”

The men, led by their foil team which swept all four schools, beat Boston College 16-11, St. John’s 15-12, Brandeis 17-10 and MIT 15-12.

The foil team, featuring John Gurrieri ’10, Andrew Holbrook ’10 and Nathaniel Botwinick ’11, faced steep competition but won 27 out of 36 bouts.

Botwinick led the squad by winning all but one of his bouts.

The saber squad had a rough opening as they lost to BC, 0-9. The squad improved throughout the competition, finishing with its only win of the day, 5-4 victory over MIT.

“One of the key differences were the victories from the rapidly improving saber team,” Andrew Holbrook suggested.

Despite a slow start, Pearce said he believes that this was a successful start, especially considering that Jonathan Holbrook ’12 had just switched weapons. Holbrook fenced 6-3 for the day. Adam Fields ’12, Sebastian Cano-Besquet ’09 and Stephen Watty ’11 filled out the rest of the saber squad.

The epee squad also earned a winning record of 24 wins out of 36 bouts, but lost to MIT in a close 4-5 round. Pearce, Alex Cohen ’12, Tom Bell ’10 and Bob Qu ’12 all had solid showings.

“We maintained focus throughout the day, which was evident because we won all of our matches before the last bout and each one by at least two bouts,” Pearce explained.

The women overwhelmingly crushed MIT, 8-1, and while beaten by St. John’s Red Storm, the Eli women had a strong showing against BC and Brandeis.

“Noteworthy is the performance of Katharine Pitt (foil), who only lost one bout [of 12],” Lidia Gocheva ’09 said in an e-mail.

Katharine Pitt ’12 led the freshmen foil team to 5-4 victories over BC, St. John’s and MIT and a 6-3 victory over Brandeis. Valeria Makeeva ’12, Jen Cohen ’09 and Jillian Liu ’12 rounded out the squad.

Epeeists Rebecca Moss ’10, Abby Fraeman ’09, Kristin Saetveit ’10 and Pruittiporn Kerdchoochuen ’10 had three wins and a loss including a heavy trumping of MIT, 8-1.

The saber squad fought hard to a single victory out of the four. Katie Arden ’10, Farrah Kimovec ’10 and Andrea Feuer ’10 won 6-3 against Boston College; in her first team competition for Yale, Malika Rakhmankulova ’12 fenced later in the following bouts.

“I’m so proud of how the team fenced today!” Fraeman said. “Our freshmen all performed wonderfully and never let their nerves control their bouts.”

It was the first team competition for seven Elis, and their performance suggested their work in practice, Pearce suggested.

“The returning fencers showed great determination and leadership,” he said. “The freshman showed how much they will contribute to the team this year.”

The team will take a long winter break before leaping into the heart of their winter season on Jan. 17 in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., at Vassar.

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