Yale Athletics

Facing tough competition at Penn State, both Bulldog fencing teams managed to secure three wins to start the new year.

After reporting early for training, Yale’s fencing teams headed off to the home of the Nittany Lions last Sunday for a full day of competitions. The women’s team went 3–3, emerging triumphant from bouts against Haverford, North Carolina and Temple while falling to Duke, Penn and host Penn State. The men’s squad defeated Haverford, North Carolina and Penn but lost to Duke and the Nittany Lions. The last match against Columbia for both Eli teams was canceled due to insufficient time.

“I think this tournament was more difficult than the other meets we had,” foilist Emme Zhou ’23 said. “Not only were we just coming off of a tough week of winter training and getting back in shape after the holidays, the trip to Penn State is also such a long bus ride… I am looking forward to facing some schools again at Ivies this year, such as Penn. I think it will be a close draw, but I have confidence in our team to pull through and fence well together. Although we have trained hard together, I think if we push ourselves a little more we can definitely create history this season.”

The women’s squad’s results came against nationally-ranked competition. The Elis lost to teams featured in the latest CollegeFencing360.com coaches poll for the best women’s fencing teams in the country. Penn State placed third, Duke placed sixth, and Penn finished outside of the top ten. The women’s squad finished ninth in the country in the same list.

The Bulldogs started Sunday with a loss against the Nittany Lions 17–10, but they were not fazed and rebounded with a commanding 25–2 victory over Haverford. The Elis continued their winning ways after this match by defeating North Carolina 19–8 before losing to Penn in a tight 15–12 bout after the lunch break. Yale had a close victory of its own after beating Temple 14–13 and finished the day with another heartbreaking 14–13 loss at the hands of Duke.

“I have high hopes for the rest of the season after this meet,” saberist Sydney Hirsch ’23 said. “Some of our losses were really close and if we keep training as hard as we have we can definitely beat some of those schools. Emme Zhou really stood out this meet because she had to anchor two rounds in the tiebreaker bout, and that’s a lot of pressure.”

The men’s team also faced significant competition. On the same CollegeFencing360 poll, Penn State and Duke — the two programs Yale fell to on Sunday — rank fourth and sixth respectively. For comparison, the men’s team finished eighth on the list and managed to defeat a ninth-placed Penn.

The men’s squad also started the day off with a difficult 17–10 loss against the host, Penn State, but followed that with three straight wins against Haverford 23–4, North Carolina 17–10 and Penn 16–11. The Elis were not able to extend their streak into their final match and lost to Duke 19–8.

“In terms of personal development, I know that I have to become more resilient from bout to bout,” rookie foilist Allan Ding ’23 said. “I have noticed that I am able to consistently win my first five or so bouts but tend to taper off towards the end of the day. Once I solve this issue and make the adjustment, we will come out on top and edge out the competition in those narrow 14–13 wins.”

The Bulldogs will continue their season when they go back to Pennsylvania to the Philadelphia Invitational hosted by Penn on Jan. 18 and 19.

Eugenio Garza Garcia | eugenio.garzagarcia@yale.edu