Despite a valiant effort in front of a packed crowd at the Yale Fencing Salon, both the men’s and women’s teams fell to Sacred Heart University on Saturday in the Bulldogs’ first and only home match of the season.
For three members of the men’s team — captain Hugh O’Cinneide ’15, Sam Broughton ’15 and Jacob Rosenberg-Wohl ’15 — and four members of the women’s team — captain Lauren Miller ’15, Josephine Massey ’15, Margaret Kandel ’15 and Rachel Hayes ’15 — this past weekend’s competition marked the last home match of their Yale careers.
“Fencing in front of a home crowd is always exciting, and even more so senior year,” Hayes said. “The energy level shoots up more than at any of our other tournaments, which makes the whole experience both more fun and more nerve-wracking. It was a great way to celebrate our senior day.”
The women’s saber and foil squads put up great numbers against the Pioneers, going 5–4 and 7–2 in their matchups, respectively. Despite eventually finishing down 15–12, the Bulldogs stayed tight with their opponents until the end and even led 11–10 at one point in the third round after a powerful performance by the foil squad.
In the first round, the Pioneers slightly edged out the Bulldogs 5–4. The second set produced a similar outcome, as Sacred Heart extended its lead to 10–8. After Yale fought back to claim the advantage in the third, the Pioneers put the match away by winning the final three bouts.
As Miller noted, the team felt some pressure to perform in front of a home crowd, but the squad managed to keep its composure throughout the meet.
“Sacred Heart is always a close meet for us, and having this as our only home meet was exciting but also added some pressure. Particularly for the new members who had never fenced in a home meet before, I’m impressed by how well the girls kept their cool,” Miller said. “We’re looking forward to continuing to practice hard this week and maintaining the energy we had at Sacred Heart as we go into Ivies at Columbia next weekend.
The men’s team’s match was just as dramatic, coming down to the final point in the final bout of the day. With the teams tied at 13–13, Paul Won ’18 and Sacred Heart’s Kevin Almerini battled to a 4–4 tie before the Pioneer managed to pull out the final victory of the day.
Yale led after the first round 5–4, but the Pioneers battled back in the second to tie the match up at nine. The Bulldogs then swept the foil bouts in the third round and eventually widened their lead to 13–9 in the third set, but it was not enough to secure the win as Sacred Heart staged an impressive comeback, claiming the five remaining bouts.
O’Cinneide noted that the Bulldogs might have fared better in the face of the Pioneer comeback had they maintained the pressure they brought toward the beginning of the meet. Yet the captain also mentioned that he was proud of the effort his squad put forward on Saturday.
“We need to work on keeping the pressure on our opponents throughout the meet to not give them any reprieve,” O’Cinneide said. “Everyone did their job and Brian Wang ’16 posted the best record yesterday, 3–0. He did a great job against tough opposition.”
This weekend, the men’s and women’s teams will travel to Columbia for the Ivy League Round-Robin tournament. Both Bulldog squads will face four of the nation’s top-10 teams in Harvard, Princeton, Penn and Columbia.
The competition will begin this Sunday at 11 a.m. in New York.