Yale Athletics

The Yale fencing teams dominated the competition at the Brandeis Invitational on Sunday, winning all but one of their matches against five other competitors.

The No. 10 Eli women notched an undefeated mark for the second year in a row by vanquishing all of their opponents at the tournament — only Boston College managed to score double-digit points against the women’s team. The men’s team bolstered the team’s overall success by adding four more wins to the record, but lost a hard-fought match to highly-ranked St. John’s.

“I’m very pleased with the team’s performance this weekend, and I think it bodes extremely well for the rest of the season,” women’s captain and saberist Ilana Kamber ’18 said. “I’m most proud of the team’s ability to maintain our focus and maintain a high level of competition throughout what was a very long day.”

The Yale women kicked off their day with a blowout 21–6 victory over MIT, before trouncing University of the Incarnate Word with a 23–4 win. The Bulldogs then secured a solid 17–10 victory over Boston College and cruised past Brandeis with a 21–6 result.

The tournament culminated in a final match against No. 8 St. John’s. The Elis emerged from their most difficult match of the day with a decisive 18–9 victory against the Red Storm.

The women’s saber squad led the way to success, winning all nine of its bouts against three of the five schools: MIT, Incarnate Word and Brandeis. The foil squad also posted exceptional results, cruising through its match against St. John’s with a 9–0 win.

The first years, in particular, blew away the competition at just their second college fencing tournament. Saberists Lauren Kim ’21 and Mary Barnett ’21 posted impressive records of 11–1 and 10–2, respectively, throughout the day.

“I’m really impressed by how the first years adapted quickly and were really supportive of the upperclassmen,” epeeist Michelle Li ’20 said. “It can feel kind of intimidating just being on the college circuit, but they handled the pressure well and lived up to expectations, especially when they were asked to sub in. I think it made our jobs easier and the team more cohesive.”

The men’s team also came away with positive results from the tournament, crushing four of five teams it faced that day. The Bulldogs triumphed over MIT in an 18–9 victory and underscored their success with a 20–7 win against Incarnate Word. They then conquered Boston College and Brandeis with identically impressive 17–10 results in both matches.

The final match of the tournament against No. 7 St. John’s proved to be the ultimate challenge for the men’s team. After a long day of fencing, the Bulldogs just couldn’t pull through, and they fell to the Red Storm 18–9. Despite the defeat, the Elis are determined to carry the positive momentum from the tournament for the rest of the season.

“Most schools that we fence for the rest of the season are going to be about the same level as St. John’s, so we really need to get in the mindset of competing with them and not get intimidated or thrown off by seeing such big-name fencers on the other side of the strip,” men’s captain and epeeist Avery Vella ’18 said.

All three of the men’s squads contributed to the overall team’s success at the invitational. The saber squad swept all nine bouts against Incarnate Word, while the foil squad emerged victorious in eight of nine bouts against tournament host Brandeis. The epeeists also dominated the competition, defeating MIT in seven of nine bouts.

Several fencers on the men’s team highlighted the day with key victories. Foilist Cameron Allen ’21 swept all his bouts against MIT and Boston College in his second tournament in the college circuit. Saberist Walter Musgrave ’19 went undefeated against MIT, and epeeist Jonathan Xu ’19 triumphed in all his bouts against Incarnate Word.

“We performed really well, and I’m looking forward to competing in the rest of the season,” Xu said. “The more experience we get, the better we perform as a team, so I’m really excited for our future competitions.”

With another successful tournament under their belt, the Bulldogs will head into a restful winter break before continuing on with their season. The Elis will next fence on Jan. 14 at the Penn State Invitational.

Amber Hu | amber.hu@yale.edu