It was a tough weekend for Yale fencing.
In a battle against some of collegiate fencing’s top-ranked teams, the Yale women’s and men’s squads fell to their Ivy League foes at the conference’s Round Robin tournament in New York on Sunday and Monday.
Hosted by Columbia, the tournament included the No. 2 Lions, along with No. 5 Harvard, No. 7 Penn and No. 8 Princeton, along with the rest of the men’s programs in the Ivy League. For the women, the competition featured the top team in the nation, Columbia, along with No. 3 Princeton, No. 4 Harvard and No. 8 Penn. Last year, the men and women were also unable to clinch a win against their opponents at the conference Round Robin tournament hosted by Brown.
Despite dropping the team competition against each of its opponents, the women’s team noted a significant improvement in its performance compared to last year’s Ivy Round Robin, according to captain and Second Team All-Ivy selection Lauren Miller ’15.
“After putting in a ton of work building up to this weekend, the girls focused and fenced consistently well over what is always a difficult tournament,” Miller said. “I’m confident that we can turn the several close losses we had into wins next year.”
On the first day of competition, the women’s team faced Princeton, Harvard and Cornell. Despite losing to the Big Red 20–7 overall, the sabre squad performed well, claiming five of its nine matches. The Bulldogs also fought valiantly against the Tigers and the Crimson, dropping a few tight individual matches before losing 18–9 and 23–4, respectively.
The next day, Yale took on Columbia, the eventual tournament champions, and fell 17–10. The women also faced the Bears in a tight match that ended in a 14–13 defeat and took on the Quakers in a contest that ended with a 20–7 loss.
The results of the weekend were similar for the men. Coming off of their close loss against Sacred Heart last week, the Bulldogs looked to establish their place among their Ivy League competitors. But in the matchup against the Crimson, Yale fell to eventual co-champion Harvard 21–6. Later in the day Princeton handed the Elis their second loss, 22–5.
On Monday, the Bulldogs entered the competition sitting in fifth place. Yale lost 20–7 against co-champion Columbia and 22–5 against the Quakers before dropping a closely-contested match against Brown 14–13.
Reed Srere ’17, who placed 11th in the sabre competition, noted that the team often put themselves in a hole early on due to a lack of a concentration at the start of each match.
“I do think the team could have benefited from focusing more at the beginning of bouts,” Srere said. “We’d oftentimes drop the first touch or two and be forced to rally from an early deficit.”
Even though both the men’s and women’s teams were unable to pull out a win this weekend, the squads look forward to more chances later this season to highlight their improvements. In particular, Miller noted that the team is eager to work on increasing its cohesiveness at the U.S. Collegiate Squad Championships and later at the NCAA Regionals.
Captain Hugh O’Cinneide ’15 said he hoped the meet proved the team could hold its own against difficult opponents.
“I hope all the men know that no one is untouchable, and will hopefully inspire confidence when we fence a similar field at regionals,” O’Cinneide said.
The U.S. Collegiate Squad Championships are on Feb. 22 in Princeton.