“Oh, so good! So good!” Henry Harutunian, head coach for the men’s and women’s fencing teams, said after Isadora Botwinick ’06 won her match against Rutgers this past weekend. Harutunian had good reason to be excited, as Botwinick and her teammates increased their record to 6-0 with wins over both Rutgers and Vassar Jan. 25 in New Haven.
The women defeated Rutgers 15-12, which was the same outcome that the Bulldogs had against Rutgers last year. The Bulldogs were 3-6 in epee, 5-4 in sabre and 7-2 in foil. Sophie Jones ’03 defeated Rutgers’ No. 1 fencer, Alexis Jemal, 2-1 in sabre.
Jones said Rutgers is the best team Yale has faced this season.
“Rutgers was a really good match for us because we performed strongly against a team with a lot of talent,” Jones said. “It was good practice for our Ivy League season.”
Captain Sarah Senk ’03 abandoned her usual weapon, epee, to fill in for teammate Justine Aw ’06 in foil. Senk went 2-1 in the foil event, which Jones said was a remarkable accomplishment for someone not fencing their usual weapon.
Aw was away competing at the World Cup in Montreal this weekend and was unable to fence for Yale in the dual meet.
Harutunian said after the meet that he was extremely pleased with the women’s performance.
“For us to fence so well against a scholarship school impresses me a lot,” Harutunian said. “It just shows what kind of talent we have here at Yale.”
The men did not see the same kind of success as the women, falling to Rutgers 15-12.
Sabre was the only weapon with which the Bulldogs were victorious, finishing 5-4. They lost 4-5 in foil and and 3-6 in epee.
James Rohrbach ’04, who competed in Epee for the Bulldogs, said they lost a number of close bouts that could have gone either way.
“We could have either won big this weekend, or lost big,” Rohrbach said. “Things just didn’t pan out for us in the end.”
Michael Alexander ’05 had similar thoughts on the meet against Rutgers.
“We weren’t outclassed,” Alexander said. ” We just didn’t make use of the talents we had. All of us felt like we could have been doing better.”
The men came back from their earlier loss to decisively defeat Vassar 20-7. They won epee 8-1, foil 5-4 and sabre 7-2, and were able to rotate many of their non-starters in for valuable practice.
In epee, Will Tauxe ’05 won all of his bouts, finishing 3-0. Rohrbach and Alexander both went 2-0, and Chris Chen ’06 and Garren Givens ’04 rotated in to get some practice before the Ivy season.
“Vassar was a good meet for some of the non-starters to get some experience,” Rohrbach said.
The women also performed very well against Vassar, winning foil 9-0 and both sabre and epee 7-2 for a total of 23-4.
With an unusual amount of home meets thus far this season, the Bulldogs said they feel ready for their Ivy League opener this weekend against the University of Pennsylvania, which will also be at Yale. Last year, the men beat Penn for the first time in many years, and members of both the men’s and women’s teams said they are hoping to repeat their success
“After how our teams have fenced so far, I think we are ready for this weekend,” Jones said.