The men’s and women’s fencing teams head into winter break on a positive note after sweeping all of their matches at the Brandeis Invitational in Waltham, Mass., on Saturday.
Both teams competed against the hosts, as well as teams from UNC, St. John’s, Boston College and MIT. The men and women each finished with identical 5–0 records from their respective matchups, in what was the first team competition of the season for both squads.
Coming off an undefeated finish at last year’s tournament, the men’s squad won convincingly over Brandeis, Boston College and MIT by scores of 17–10, 18–9 and 21–6, respectively. The men eked out victories against St. John’s and UNC, each by 14–13 margins.
“It was a great weekend for the [men’s] team,” captain and foilist Andrew Holbrook ’10 said. “We really proved to ourselves that when challenged by strong teams, we have what it takes to win. The tournament proved to us that we can beat anyone. We’re more confident going into the rest of the season.”
In college fencing, teams face off in a series of 27 individual matchups, nine in each of the three disciplines — epee, foil and saber. Scoring is based on the total matches won by each team over all three disciplines.
Particularly notable in the Elis’ outing was their 5–4 victory in epee against UNC, one of the nation’s strongest epee squads, according to Holbrook. John Gurrieri ’10, competing in foil, was the most successful individual performer for the Bulldogs, finishing with 12–1 overall record.
Gurrieri, though, maintained that it was a team effort.
“I’m proud of the way the foil squad stuck together to support each other and refused to give up throughout the day despite some pitfalls,” he said.
The women’s squad, meanwhile, defeated Brandeis 18–9, MIT 21–6, Boston College 19–8, UNC 15–12, and, in the team’s closest matchup, Yale narrowly defeated St. John’s 14–13. Against the three Boston area teams, the Bulldogs swept all three events — epee, foil and saber. They dropped only the foil to UNC, while against St. John’s they lost in both foil and epee but overcame that with a 7–2 margin of victory in saber to give them the cumulative victory.
Captain and epeeist Rebecca Moss ’10 attributed some of the team’s success to the members’ upbeat attitude.
“As a team, we’ve learned that we all thrive on energy, and so we vowed to keep the cheering levels high and to remind each other to just be ourselves and have fun,” she said.
Moss said she is also particularly proud of how the team’s freshmen performed.
“It was the first time we got to see some of our amazing freshmen in action,” Moss said. Saberist Maddy Oliver ’13 led the freshmen with a 14–1 overall record on the day.
Both teams now have over a month off before hosting Vassar at the Fencing Salon on the 7th floor of Payne Whitney Gym. The women compete Jan. 17, and the men compete on the following day.