As friends and family crowded into the fencing salon in Payne Whitney Gymnasium on Saturday, the men’s and women’s fencing teams treated the home crowd to two decisive victories over Vassar and Sacred Heart.
The Eli women vanquished both schools by double-digit margins, cruising past the Brewers 23–4 and the Pioneers 21–6. That success was matched by their male counterparts, who edged past Vassar 14–13 and dominated Sacred Heart 21–6.
“There was a lot of bafflement and bamboozlement all around, and we used guile and skill to trick our opponents,” foilist Daniel Flesch ’19 said. “The energy was amazing. It crackled through the air. And having our friends there watching and clapping and to be able to fence in front of them, was really a majestic experience.”
The Yale women came into the home meet on a streak of solid performances after edging out a slew of top-ranked teams at Penn two weeks ago. And their winning record did not stop on Saturday.
Several members of each weapon squad contributed undefeated matchups to Yale’s winning record. Six Eli women swept all of their bouts against both Vassar and Sacred Heart: women’s captain and saberist Ilana Kamber ’18, saberist Francesca Fedorovsky ’21, foilists Sarah Pak ’19 and Jenny Zhao ’19 and epeeist Michelle Nam ’20.
“We did really well across all three weapons, so I definitely can’t complain about anything,” Kamber said. “Something we’ve realized this year is that all of our squads are really strong, that there’s no one squad that we can point to and say, ‘We need to compensate for that squad.’”
The men’s team kicked off the morning with an evenly matched faceoff against Vassar, and succeeded in pulling out a tight victory over the Brewers. The victory over Vassar was one of the closest the Yale men have had this season — with two bouts left, the Brewers were up 13–12. But at the end of the second-to-last bout, with the score tied at 4–4, Flesch lunged at his opponent and clinched the winning touch — one second before the end of overtime. Saberist Cameron Allen ’21 then secured the last bout to claim Yale’s victory.
After emerging victorious in their pressure-filled matchup against Vassar, the Eli men carried their momentum to their match against Sacred Heart, crushing the Pioneers 21–6.
Both the foil and saber squads on the men’s team performed exceptionally well at the home meet — each squad went 8–1 against both opponents. Six Bulldog men went undefeated throughout the day, including Flesch, Allen, foilist Aiden Ahn ’20 and saberists Justin Jin ’20, Walter Musgrave ’19 and Samuel South ’18.
Between the matchups against Vassar and Sacred Heart, the seniors were recognized in a ceremony for their dedication to the Yale team and their accomplishments outside of fencing. Kamber, South, men’s captain and epeeist Avery Vella ‘18 and foilist Ella Belina ‘18 were honored at the ceremony, which marked their last regular-season competition.
“It was just really nice to be at the ceremony with the people who helped us get there and be able to thank them and celebrate four years of fencing on Yale’s team,” Kamber said. “It made me realize that I’m really going to miss competing with the team.”
Yale will travel to Princeton next weekend to compete in the highly-anticipated Ivy League Round Robins, a two-day tournament that will pit the Elis against their Ancient Eight rivals. The Bulldogs will face some formidable competitors: Columbia, Princeton, Harvard and Penn are ranked in the nation’s top 10 in both the men’s and women’s polls, while Yale is not ranked in either.
After the Ivy League Round Robins, Yale will compete at the NCAA Northeast Regionals on March 11, which will be hosted at Brandeis.
Amber Hu | firstname.lastname@example.org