This weekend Bulldog fencers faced their toughest competition of the season as they fenced, and fell to, the No. 1 and 2 teams — Ohio State and Notre Dame — at the NYU Invitational.
The men soundly defeated Steven’s Tech and Wayne State 15-12 and 16-11, respectively. They narrowly fell to NYU, 14-13. Ohio State and Notre Dame, however, proved fierce opponents and the Elis fell 23-4 and 19-8, respectively.
“Except for the two losses at the hands of the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 that bookmarked our day, I would say we had a productive day where we both affirmed how hard we’ve been working,” Michael Pearce ’09 said.
The women fell to Notre Dame (23-4), Ohio State (24-3), and Northwestern (18-9). The squad defeated Wayne State (25-2) and NYU (19-8).
“It’s sometimes hard to remember that we are a strong team, but that we are just competing against teams with World Cup winners and Olympians on their squads,” Abigail Fraeman ’09 said.
The epee squad went 19-26 for the day. Fraeman, an epeeist, added that the epee squad, who went 8-1 against NYU last weekend, rebounded nicely from a 1-8 loss the year before. The same starters — Rebecca Moss ’10, Fraeman and Pruittiporn Kerdchoochuen ’11 — fenced in both years.
Moss had a particularly good tournament as she went 10-5 for the day, and four of her five losses were by a single touch in overtime.
The foil and saber squads performed well; each had strong 9-0 win against Wayne State and narrowly won their series of bouts against NYU.
The bouts against NYU brought out the team’s cohesion, Katie Arden ’10 said, as they offered tips to each other about their opponents’ styles.
For instance, she explained, Farrah Kimovec ’10 noticed that one of the NYU fencers frequently attacked the head. She passed this knowledge to teammate Jennifer Ivers ’10, who was able to invite the girl to hit her head. She quickly parried and riposted the move. Ivers then noticed that another opponent liked to offer a quick attack that fell short. Arden took this information and got the riposte.
“The greatest challenge is really to ignore the record of the school or the name on the back of the jacket once you get on the strip,” Arden said of competing against such powerful teams. One must “simply fight for every touch.”
Highlights for the men’s foil squad included a 6-3 win against Notre Dame who is slated to win the National Championships this year. Shiv Kachru ’12, a member of the foil squad went 7-6 for the day and John Gurrieri ’10 won all of his bouts against Notre Dame.
With his foil, Nat Botwinick ’11 recorded the best score of the day, 12-3.
“The foil squad is anchoring the team,” Pearce added. “In the NYU match, they kept the fight going to the very last bout.”
The saber squad of Sebastian Cano-Besquet ’09, Jonathan Holbrook ’12, Steven Watty ’11 and Adam Fields ’12 struggled throughout the competition. They beat Wayne State 6-3, but fell to the other four institutions. Watty recorded two victories against Ohio State and was the only Eli to do so.
“They were two very exciting, impressive and hard-fought victories,” Andrew Holbrook ’10 said.
The epeeists fared the same, with a 6-3 win against Steven’s Tech and losses to Ohio State, NYU, Notre Dame and Wayne State.
“Our loss to NYU was especially tough,” Kachru said. “Now as a team we know what it takes to win when things come down to the wire.”
NYU narrowly defeated Yale, 14-13, after intense fighting through the last bouts.
Members of both the men’s and women’s teams assert that this weekend’s tough opposition was a valuable experience as the team gears up for Ivy Competition. “They are really the climax and end-goal of the season,” Arden said of the Ivy lineup.
On Saturday, both fencing teams will host Sacred Heart and Drew in the Payne Whitney Gymnasium at 1 and 3 p.m, respectively.