On the humid seventh floor of Payne Whitney Gymnasium Saturday, the Yale men’s and women’s fencing teams took on opponents from Sacred Heart and Vassar in what turned out to be a dominant afternoon for the Bulldogs.
The Eli men bested both the Pioneers and the Brewers by scores of 15–12. No one weapon can be credited entirely for the success of the afternoon: Men’s saber put on an impressive show in the form of an 8–1 victory against Sacred Heart, while men’s foil delivered the fatal blows to Vassar. The Yale women’s team, meanwhile, came out with a 17–10 victory over Vassar but took a narrow 14–13 loss to Sacred Heart despite edging out competition in both the foil and saber categories.
“I think the meet went well,” women’s captain Joanna Lew ’17 said. “It’s always extremely stressful, but it’s privilege to get our parents and friends to see us.”
The meet, dubbed Senior Day in a celebration of the senior men’s Bulldogs, was not lacking in excitement from the event’s honorees, who combined to go 10–8 on the day. Highlighting the meet from the class of 2016 were foils Dillon Lew ’16 and Jin Ishizuka ’16 with 3–1 and 4–0 records, respectively.
But the seniors were not the only ones to end the day with notable records. Reed Srere ’17 and Ian Richards ’17 both dominated in saber, taking four wins and a loss apiece. Avery Vella ’18 impressively won one of his bouts by a score of 5–0 in epee, ending with a flick to his opponent’s foot.
To many, including Skyler Chin ’19, this meet carried added significance as it is the only meet hosted at Yale. Having watched the Bulldogs fall in this same event last spring as a prospective student, Chin said he was out to avenge that loss.
“The epee squad lost a bunch in a row and [Yale] actually lost 14–13,” Chin said. “That made me want to do well at this specific meet.”
The freshman delivered on his promise, taking four of his five bouts.
The women’s 17–10 victory over Vassar came with notable finishes from underclassmen, including saber Ilana Kamber ’18, who defeated her opponent to become one part of an Eli saber unit that dominated the Brewers 7–2. The Bulldogs proceeded to defeat Vassar 5–4 in both foil and epee.
Foil Sarah Pak ’19 also won 1–0 in a defensive battle against her Sacred Heart opponent to secure a 5–4 Yale victory at that weapon technique . Pak credited the team’s support in aiding her performance.
“I’m really proud of how well we worked together as a team,” Pak said. “I’m really glad I had the team’s support.”
With all of its nonconference regular season opponents behind them, the Bulldogs now turn their attention to the Ivy League Round-Robins, which take place at Cornell this weekend.
Neither team managed to earn a single victory at last year’s conference event, resulting in a last-place finish for both the Eli men and women. After the results this weekend, however, Lew remained optimistic about Yale’s prospects.
“I am really happy with what I saw, [and am] looking forward to Ivies,” Lew said. “We are doing really well with squad unity. Everyone is getting on strip and coaching each other and supporting each other. In terms of team bonding and sportsmanship Yale always stands out, especially this weekend.”
Ivy Round-Robins start on Feb. 6.