FENCING | Mixed results for Elis at Ivies

At the Yale-hosted Ivy League Championship this weekend, the women’s fencing team showed vast improvement over last year’s championship by taking fifth place and defeating Brown and Cornell.

The No. 10 men’s team, which took second place last year, struggled this weekend and slipped to fifth place. The women’s team overall had a 2–4 record for the weekend and the men’s team went 1–4. Foilist James Broughton ’15 and epeeist Peter Cohen ’14 won second team All-Ivy honors for their strong performances.

On the first day, the women’s team took on Brown, Harvard and Cornell, and ended the day with a 2–1 record. Against Brown, the Bulldogs narrowly escaped defeat with a score of 14–13. Foil and epee prevailed with a 6–3 win, whereas saber endured a 2–7 loss.

“Brown was a strong team to fence, but I am happy that we especially showed strength in foil,” said foilist Jillian Liu ’12. However, in the next round, the Bulldogs had to swallow a crushing 21–6 defeat against the Crimson (foil 6–3, epee 7–2 and saber 8–1). In the last match of the day, the team rebounded by smashing Cornell 16–11 (foil and epee 6–3, and saber 4–5).

On the other side of Coxe Cage, the men’s team fenced against Brown and Harvard and took one win and one loss, putting them in third on the first day. The men opened their first match against Brown and won big, posting a 17–10 win. All three weapons scored wins: saber 5–4, epee and foil both 6–3.

“Brown was decent, and it is definitely a good start for us,” said saberist Nathaniel Benzimra ’13. “We played really well overall.”

Unfortunately, the goddess of victory did not smile upon the Elis in a clash against the No.3 Crimson. “The Game” of the Ivies drew approximately 40 Yale supporters, including the suitemates of saberist Adam Fields ’12, many of whom showed up for the contest with blue Y’s painted on their bodies.

The team dominated in epee with a score of 6–3 but showed ineffectiveness in foil and saber, losing 4–5 and 2-7, respectively, en route to a 15–12 loss overall.

On the second day of the championship, both teams faced Princeton, Penn and Columbia but failed to come up with a single win. The women’s side gave in to the Tigers 25-2, Quakers 20-7, and Lions 22-5.

Despite these losses, team captain Robyn Shaffer ’13 said she was satisfied with her team’s performance.

“We are really proud of our results this year,” she said. “We set our goal for the weekend to beat Cornell and Brown, and we accomplished that goal. It is an improvement from last year, so we can tangibly see that we’ve made progress, which is a great feeling.” Shaffer added that fencing is as much a mental sport as a physical one, and after a loss it is best to “put aside negative thoughts and start preparing for the next bout.”

Head coach Henry Harutunian said the team put dignity in the games and it was quite impressive for the women to beat Brown and Cornell, which are heavily composed of recruits, whereas the Elis have only two foilist recruits: Lauren Miller’15 and Katharine Pitt’12.

The men’s side lost 18-9 against No.2 Princeton although it secured a 6-3 victory in foil. The team also submitted to No.7 Penn 16-11, but the Bulldogs did defeat the Quakers in foil 5-4. In the last match against the Lions, the men lost 18-9 despite taking epee with a 5-4 victory.

“We are actually disappointed at our result, but the team tried its best,” said the men’s team manager Jose Martinez ’12.

Martinez said he was particularly proud of Broughton because he is a freshman who performed well in a high-pressure situation.

The Elis will compete in the United States Collegiate Squad Championships on Feb. 26 at NYU in New York.

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