The men’s and women’s fencing teams open their winter season with a home tournament against Sacred Heart this weekend.

The teams look to avenge their narrow losses to Sacred Heart last year, when both Eli squads fell 13–14, and have prepared extensively for this weekend’s action.

“The team came back early from winter vacation to get some practice in and get back to where we need to be for this weekend’s match,” Peter Cohen ’14 said.

The women’s team hopes to recapture the results from 2012, when the Elis last defeated Sacred Heart, 15–12. The men’s team has not overcome Sacred Heart since 2010, when Yale beat the Pioneers 16–11.

This weekend’s matchup against Sacred Heart will be a good test for the Bulldogs. Both the men’s and women’s fencing teams from Sacred Heart have defeated Vassar, whom the Elis will face the first weekend in February, and have faced a level of competition similar to the teams that Yale faced in the Brandeis Tournament.

“We hope to win,” Cohen said. “Plain and simple.”

The men’s team is looking to build on the momentum from a strong fall season, when the Bulldogs had an impressive showing at the Brandeis Tournament, finishing 4–1. The Elis nearly swept the field, defeating the Air Force Academy, Boston College, Brandeis and MIT. The Bulldogs fell short only to St. John’s, losing the match 14–13.

The women’s team, on the other hand, hopes to bounce back from its performance at the same tournament, where it finished with a 2–3 record against stiff competition. The Bulldogs dropped matches to the Air Force Academy, St. John’s and Brandeis. Still, the Elis improved on their showing at the tournament in 2012, when they went 1–5, with two wins against Boston College and MIT.

“Sacred Heart — although not a particularly important opponent — represents the beginning of four weeks of consecutive tournaments,” captain Cornelius Saunders ’14 said in an email. “We are hoping to demonstrate not only our talent but also our readiness for the upcoming season. The match also provides an opportunity to correct any weaknesses.”

The matchup against Sacred Heart will be a tune-up for both teams as they gear up for the NYU Invitational the following week, where last year the men’s team posted a 3–2 record while the women’s team finished 1–4. All the contests throughout the season will prepare the Bulldogs for the Ivy League Championships, which will be held at Brown on Feb. 8 and 9.

The women’s team is led by captain Lauren Miller ’15, who has finished in 13th and seventh place in foil at the past two NCAA National Championships. The young 16-person squad, the majority of whom are underclassmen, will look to improve upon the team’s 10th place finish at the NCAA National Championships.

Saunders, who also captained the team as a junior, leads the men’s team. The squad is made up of a core of fencers who have experience at NCAA regionals and national championships. Saunders and Benjamin Mappin-Kasirer ’14 both qualified for NCAA regionals alongside Cohen and Hugh O’Cinneide ’15, who also qualified for the NCAA National Championships and led the team to an 11th place finish.

The competition against Sacred Heart will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18 in Payne Whitney Gymnasium.