After blowout wins against Vassar and Sacred Heart at home on Feb. 3, the men’s and women’s fencing teams failed to keep up their win streaks against their Ivy rivals at the conference’s Round Robin tournament at Princeton this weekend. The Bulldogs battled against the nation’s best at the tournament, which spanned two full days. The Eli men competed against the top team in the nation, Harvard, in addition to No. 4 Columbia, No. 6 Princeton, No. 7 Penn and unranked Brown. The women’s team faced a similarly impressive field, including No. 2 Columbia, No. 5 Princeton, No. 6 Harvard and No. 8 Penn, as well as teams from Brown and Cornell.
By the end of the tournament, the Yale men finished with a fifth- place, 1–4 overall record, defeating Brown with a solid record but falling to the other Ivy League teams. The women’s results were highlighted by an improvement from last year’s sixth place standing — a 2–4 record, which put the women in fifth place.
“This past weekend was a little disappointing, but I think everyone showed a lot of heart,” foilist Daniel Flesch ’19 said. “I know everyone was working really hard and trying to do their best.”
On the first day of competition, the men’s team faced Princeton, Brown and Harvard and finished with a 1–2 record. The Bulldogs kicked off their day by stepping up against the tournament’s home team but suffered a heartbreakingly narrow loss against the Lions 14–13. The Bulldogs then bounced back by securing a decisive victory over the Bears 17–10, whom they had also defeated in last year’s Round Robin tournament.
Although the Elis had defeated the Crimson by one bout last year, they could not repeat against their rivals from Cambridge, falling to Harvard, 19–8.
The next day, the Bulldogs faced highly-ranked Penn and Columbia, but following a few tight individual losses, they could not overcome either of the two teams. The Yale men fell to the Quakers 17–10 and the Lions 20–7, both of which tied with the Crimson as the eventual co-champions of the tournament.
“There were a lot of really close bouts where we lost 5–4 or 5–3,” Flesch said. “An ascendant fire should have gripped us in the last seconds of the bouts that would have allowed us to really pull them out, but instead we weren’t quite clutch enough.”
The results of the women’s team from the first day of competition were similar to that of the men’s — the Eli women also finished with a 1–2 record. Despite Yale’s crushing (17–10 ) loss against the Tigers, the Bulldogs recovered by annihilating the Bears 24–3. But in their final matchup of the day, the Elis ended on a low note and fell by just one bout to Harvard.
The Bulldog women entered the second day of competition sitting in fifth place out of seven teams. At the start of their day, they were unable to reverse their momentum and suffered two crushing defeats against the Quakers 19–8 and the Lions 21–6. But, in the last match of the entire tournament, the Elis destroyed the Big Red 19–8, beating a team that the Yale women had barely lost to 14–13 at last year’s Round Robin.
Despite the disappointing losses from both teams at the tournament, saberist Cameron Allen ’21 said he reamins optimistic about the rest of the season.
“This weekend, everybody put in their best work, and I was really proud of team in general,” Allen said. “I think some of our weaknesses were exposed this past weekend, but our coaches and teammates will focus on them and work hard to improve for NCAAs coming up in a few weeks.”
The Bulldogs will next fence on March 11 at the NCAA Northeast Regionals, which will be hosted at Brandeis.
Amber Hu | firstname.lastname@example.org