The men’s and women’s fencing teams both had strong performances at home this past weekend, defeating Sacred Heart in their first matchups of the spring season.
The men’s team defeated the Pioneers 17–10, with the saber squad pulling out an impressive 7–2 performance. The foil team also did well against Sacred Heart, cruising to a 6–3 finish. The epee team managed a 4–5 record against the Pioneers, engaging in tightly contested matches along the way.
The balanced attack from all three squads helped propel the Bulldogs to a strong win against Sacred Heart.
“The three squads are there to help each other out. In the past couple of tournaments, when one squad is having a harder time, the others are helping out,” Ben Mappin-Kasirer ’14 said.
The freshmen, specifically Jake Stein ’17, Reed Srere ’17 and Ian Richards ’17, have been key to the team’s success, according to multiple athletes on the squad.
Peter Cohen ’14 said that the underclassmen played a large role in the teams’ performance against Sacred Heart.
“They showed great composure and skill in the face of a loud crowd and strong opponent,” he said.
O’Cinneide agreed, noting that the freshmen are an especially strong class this year, and contributed seven wins for the Bulldogs this weekend. The team also received strong performances from several more experienced athletes, including Sam Broughton ’15, who recorded a 3–0 mark to lead the team.
The team also fed off the energy from the crowd, O’Cinneide said.
“We had a great showing from the Yale spectators — Sacred Heart, being from nearby Fairfield, always draws a large away crowd, but this year [Yale fans] who showed up really drowned out their noise,” O’Cinneide said.
The women’s team entered the competition looking to reverse the results from last year, when the Elis were defeated 14–13. This time, with the match tied at 13–13, the Bulldogs were able to triumph with captain Lauren Miller ’15 clinching the win in a tense overtime bout.
“What made the competition so intense was that every touch and every bout could have made the difference between beating Sacred Heart or losing to them,” Miller said. “There was a spotlight on each fencer’s every move, and everyone handled this immense pressure with poise and ultimately with success.”
The Bulldogs carried their momentum from the Brandeis Invitational in December, where the men’s team beat the Air Force Academy, Boston College, Brandeis and MIT, while the women’s team topped Boston College and MIT.
According to Miller, the teams prepared well for the matches against Sacred Heart and will look to stay mentally focused as they prepare for this week’s tournament at NYU.
“Both the Yale men’s and women’s teams showed incredible focus and determination this weekend,” she said. “The fact that we could tune out the noise and chaos at this meet means that we can do the same at any of our future meets this season and beyond.”
The Elis will need to focus on the tough tasks at hand, preparing mentally and physically for the high-level teams the Bulldogs expect to face this weekend, Miller added.
Mappin-Kasirer also emphasized the team’s need to remain focused.
“We have back to back tournaments before Ivies and the important thing is to stay on top of things and continue training,” he said.
O’Cinneide said that the teams will also look to retain the lessons learned from the Sacred Heart match.
Both teams have returned to the fencing room at Payne Whitney to prepare for the invitational at NYU before returning home for two matches preceding the Ivy League Championship.