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The streak is over

Matt Mooney | Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Entering Sunday’s New York University dual meet, both the men’s and women’s fencing teams shared nearly identical success stories. Both were ranked first in the country, having previously dispatched archrival Penn State by equally nerve-racking 14-13 victories. But over the weekend, something finally gave.

The Notre Dame women fencers swept through Sunday’s matches, increasing their dual meet record to 10-0 this year. The men, however, suffered their first blemish falling to fourth-ranked St. John’s by an 18-9 decision. As though the loss wasn’t bad enough, it also halted the third longest winning streak in program history at 90 consecutive dual matches.

In the opening dual meet of the day, both teams easily knifed their way through Yale, notching identical 21-6 victories.

Columbia, however, would prove a much more worthy opponent. Both the men and the women were pushed to the limit, before finally squeaking by with 14-13 victories. The women’s side had to hold on as their lead began to slip away. A 9-4 advantage was quickly erased and the Irish found themselves clinging to a slim 13-12 advantage. Not until sabre Destanie Milo secured the decisive 14th victory (5-4) did the Irish breath easy.

The men faced an even greater challenge. Dead -locked with Columbia at 13 apiece, they looked to one of their many newcomers to keep their winning streak alive. The Irish were in an identical position in December’s dual match against Penn State. It took the guile of freshman epeeist Aaron Adjemian to save the Irish in a winner-take-all final match. This time the team’s fate again lay in the hands of another freshman – sabre Patrick Ghattas. After he quickly fell behind 3-0, Ghattas was not to be denied, scoring five unanswered points and securing a Notre Dame victory.

In the next match, neither team faced much of a challenge from New York University. The men cruised to an 18-9 win while the women breezed to a 24-3 romp.

Unfortunately for the men, the luck of the Irish finally wore out. The freshmen could not conjure up enough magical heroics to bail Notre Dame out against the Red Storm who handily defeated the Irish by an 18-9 score. The 90-match winning streak, which started during the 2000 season, was the longest since 1984-88 when the Irish posted 98 consecutive victories. The school record is 122 straight wins, set from 1975-80.

Freshman epeeist Amy Orlando who finished a perfect 13-0 headed the individual performances of the day. Junior foilists Alicja Kryczalo and Andrea Ament only suffered one loss apiece finishing 13-1 and 11-1 respectively.

Ghattas, who secured the decisive victory against Columbia, performed well all day, ending with an 11-1 mark. He was followed closely by junior epeeist Michal Sobieraj (14-1) and by captain and foilist Forest Walton (13-2).