It was déjà vu all over again for the Yale fencing teams on Sunday at the annual NYU Invitational.
The men’s team posted an overall win record of 3–2. The Elis outdueled UNC, Northwestern and host NYU but fell at the hands of Notre Dame and Ohio State. Each of the past three years, the team has produced an identical overall record at the tournament, with its losses even coming against the exact same teams. The women’s team finished 1–4, their sole win coming from their matchup with Wayne State. Each of the past two years, the Yale women defeated the Warriors, but fell to the same four opponents.
The day’s competition began when the Eli men went up against Notre Dame in their first round. Although the Bulldogs fell to the No. 3 Fighting Irish, the teams were separated by a single bout with a final score of 14–13.
“I think they weren’t expecting us to come so strong,” epeeist Benjamin Mappin-Kasirer ’14 said. “What was most important to me in that bout wasn’t so much the result, but the moment when we realized that we could win, even if that was after the last bout.”
Mappin-Kasirer added that the sabre squad performed superbly, outscoring their counterparts on Notre Dame. Foilist Peter Cohen ’14 finished 3–0 in his first-round bouts as well.
After the first loss, the men’s team quickly rebounded with three decisive wins against UNC, Wayne State and NYU. The final scores were 16–11, 19–8 and 19–8, respectively. Sabreur Hugh O’Cinneide ’15 went undefeated in his three bouts against NYU.
“The team demonstrated incredible resolve in retaining their composure despite initial setbacks,” men’s captain Cornelius Saunders ’14 said in an email to the News. “Moreover, everyone managed to maintain high energy throughout an exhausting day, performing well even at the end.”
The final round of fencing for the men resulted in their only other loss, this time to No. 1 Ohio State. Though the Buckeyes are ranked first in the country, the Bulldogs managed to hold their own and fell with a final score of 16–11.
“I think that we’re working towards peaking later on in the season, which is something that is really constructive and something that I think everyone on the team is involved in,” Mappin-Kasirer said. “Hopefully, we’ll keep growing and growing up until the bigger tournaments.”
Mappin-Kasirer went 3–0 against the Buckeyes, leading the epee squad to a 5–4 victory against a talented rival.
The women also faced tough competition throughout the invitational. The first-round contest with the No. 2 Notre Dame women resulted in a 25–2 loss for the Elis. This was followed by an 18–9 defeat against No. 7 Northwestern.
Following the two losses, the Bulldogs regrouped and topped Wayne State with a 20–7 win. The epee squad went 9–0, while sabre went 7–2.
“We were motivated and aggressive after two rounds of facing tough competitors,” women’s captain and foilist Robyn Shaffer ’13 said. “The preparation against much tougher teams definitely set us up for a win over Wayne State.”
Although it seemed that the team had found some momentum, they fell once again in a close matchup with NYU. The final score was 14–13, bringing back memories of last year’s loss to the Violets by the same margin.
“Once again, it was frustratingly close,” Shaffer said. “We lost a few bouts 4–5, in multiple weapons. It just goes to show how important each individual point or bout is.”
The women concluded the tournament with a 20–7 loss to No. 4 Ohio State.
Both sabreur Madeline Oliver ’13 and foilist Lauren Miller ’15 went 10–5 over the course of the invitational.
“We’re largely a team of walk-ons, and so putting up five to 10 bouts against top 10 schools is the result of a great deal of commitment and effort from everyone on the team,” said Shaffer.
The Bulldogs will travel to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. on Feb. 2 to face Vassar. The Ivy League Championship will take place at Harvard the week after, from Feb. 9–10.