Though the Yale men’s and women’s fencing teams emerged from Ivy Round-Robins this weekend with several losses to top-ranked conference opponents, both Eli squads showed significant improvement from previous years’ defeats.
Both teams defeated Brown — a feat they could not accomplish last year — resulting in a 1–4 weekend for the Yale men and a 1–5 showing for the women. The Yale men’s team finished fifth in a field of six Ivy teams, while the Eli women finished sixth out of seven teams. Individually, foil Jenny Zhao ’19 was the central highlight for Yale, finishing the weekend 8–6 and representing Yale as the only Bulldog to be named to an All-Ivy team.
“Even though we ultimately finished with a losing record, in past years we walked away with no wins, so our one win today was a big deal,” men’s captain and epee Derek Soled ’16 said.
The men’s squad had strong performances from sabermen Reed Srere ’17, Walter Musgrave ’19 and Ian Richards ’17, who ranked 10th, 11th and 12th, respectively, in the Ivy League standings.
Overall, men’s saber established a 21–24 record, falling narrowly to Princeton, the eventual conference champion and the No. 8 team in the country.
“The saber squad performed the best,” Soled said. “All the starters had records around 50 percent. They were fencing against some of the guys in the country, so that was really good.”
Other weapons had their moments as well. The Yale men’s foil fell to four of its opponents but pulled out a 5–4 victory over Brown, a result that proved essential to the ultimate 14–13 team win.
Highlighting the foil matches for Yale were Paul Won ’18 and Daniel Flesch ’19, who went 7–8 and 3–8 over the course of the tournament, including three wins combined for the pair against conference heavyweight Princeton.
“We managed to bamboozle some great fencers and get some really exciting wins,” Flesch said.
The women’s matches marked some similarly exciting moments for Yale, with the most impressive performance coming from Zhao, who earned second team All-Ivy honors for her eight wins.
Three of Zhao’s wins came against Brown, which Yale defeated 17–10 — the first time the Bulldogs defeated any Ivy team in four years.
“I was very excited that we beat Brown,” captain and saber Joanna Lew ’17 said. “I am very proud of our freshman Jenny Zhao … and of the team as a whole, with many others coming close.”
Lew put on a small show of her own as well, as she and teammate Ilana Kamber ’18 tied for 11th overall in women’s saber. Fellow saber Lillie Lainoff ’18 was responsible for the clinching victory over Brown’s Claudia Jiang.
Fencers from both teams now look forward to the U.S. Collegiate Squad Championships, an event the Bulldogs can attack with new momentum after the showing of improvement this past weekend.
“Though [the Round-Robins weekend] was a defeat, I think that it gives us a greater resilience going forward,” Lew said.
The U.S. Collegiate Squad Championships take place on Feb. 28 at Princeton.