Following some shaky performances at Penn State on Jan. 14, the men’s and women’s fencing teams came back this past Sunday with a slew of impressive victories at the Philadelphia Invitational, which was hosted at Penn.
The Eli women dominated the field by defeating four out of five teams at the tournament. They vanquished Drew and Wagner by double-digit margins and also outpaced tough competitors North Carolina and No. 7 Temple, though they fell to No. 8 Northwestern. The women’s success was matched by the men’s team, which conquered North Carolina, Brown and Drew, but could not overcome New York University.
“I’m really proud of how our team did this past weekend,” foilist Aiden Ahn ’20 said. “I think every person was giving their best effort and outperforming the other teams, and it was really fun to watch … We definitely had a change in mindset from last weekend to this weekend, especially since two of our starters came back from injuries this time.”
The women’s team opened the day with a competitive rematch against North Carolina, a team that the Bulldogs had just fenced last weekend. Undaunted, the Elis edged past the Tar Heels with a close 14–13 victory. The Yale women continued their momentum into their next match against Drew, shattering the Rangers in an outstanding 25–2 defeat.
With two wins under their belt, the Eli women rolled into their highly anticipated rematch against Temple on a high note. Although the Bulldogs had lost to Temple at the previous meet at Penn State, they were neck-and-neck with the Owls at this weekend’s competition. Finally, foilist Anna Zhou ’20 broke a 13–13 tie and clinched the final bout to claim victory.
“Winning against Temple was definitely the best part of the day,” epeeist Michelle Li ’20 said. “Last weekend at Penn State, we recorded videos of us fencing Temple, and we replayed and analyzed their tactics throughout this past week. I’m just really glad that it all paid off in the end.”
The women’s lone loss of the day came later in the afternoon against Northwestern, who defeated the Bulldogs with a heartbreakingly narrow 14–13 score. But the Elis quickly bounced back for their last match of the day against Wagner, crushing the Seahawks 22–5.
The individual weapon squads had their share of impressive performances as well. The women’s epee squad fenced exceptionally well, emerging victorious in every single matchup and crushing the Rangers 9–0. The women’s sabre squad also defeated Drew 9–0, and saberist and women’s captain Ilana Kamber ’18 went swept her bouts against Northwestern.
The men’s team started its day with its toughest matchup against rival North Carolina. Like the Yale women, the men found themselves tied 13–13 with the Tar Heels before their final bout in the matchup. But Ahn, who took the strip for the final bout, secured a decisive win over his opponent, concluding the match with a 14–13 record.
“It was really nerve-wracking knowing that my bout would determine if Yale would beat UNC or not, so it just felt so great to win,” Ahn said. “It was also so encouraging to have everyone on the team supporting me and cheering for me behind my back.”
Coming off their victory over North Carolina, the Bulldogs cruised past their next two opponents. They vanquished Brown in a 18–9 victory, and followed by annihilating Drew 20–7. But after a long day of fencing, the Bulldogs could not maintain their winning streak and fell to NYU 19–8.
The Yale men’s winning record was bolstered by impressive highlights of individual fencers. Epeeist Jonathan Xu ’19 went undefeated for the day, even against tough teams like North Carolina and NYU. In addition, Ahn and foilist Daniel Flesch ’19 swept their bouts against the Tar Heels and the Rangers. The men’s saber squad also excelled at the competition, losing only one of its bouts against Brown.
The Elis will next compete at their lone home meet of the season, against Vassar and Sacred Heart, on Feb. 3.
Amber Hu | firstname.lastname@example.org