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ND FENCING: ND looks to redeem themselves

Dan Tapetillo | Friday, January 27, 2006

After both the men’s and women’s program’s finished 4-1 in last weekend’s NYU Duals, the Irish have been looking for redemption. The nation’s No. 1-ranked women’s team and the No. 2-ranked men’s team are both hoping to avenge their losses by coming out on top during this weekend’s Notre Dame Duals.

“We have to prove to ourselves that we are competing at our best level,” eppeist Kim Montoya said.

But it won’t be an easy feat as the teams competing are some of the top programs in the country.

Squads Notre Dame will face include Northwestern, Cal State Fullerton, Duke and Wayne State.

“[Taking into account] all three different weapons, Northwestern has one of the strongest women’s teams,” junior epeeist and team captain Amy Orlando said. “There are also going to be a couple bouts against Wayne State and Northwestern in epee that are going to be tough.”

The freshman Montoya agreed.

“I’m focusing on the fencers from Wayne State especially Anna Garina,” Montoya said. “And Northwestern is also very experienced. But we are definitely not going to be underestimating any of the other teams.”

However, it will be Ohio State that the Irish expect will be their toughest competition. The Irish needed to overcome a 24-point deficit in last year’s NCAA championships to win the team title over the Buckeyes 173-171.

“They are all fighters and won’t give up,” Orlando said. “That is what makes Ohio State so good.”

But the Irish will not be an easy opponent to face. The women’s program returns sabres Valerie Providenza and Mariel Zagunis.

“They’re near the best of their weapon and they have the experience from years on the strip,” Orlando said. “So they have everything it takes to be the complete fencer.”

The Irish will also feature key foilist Melanie Bautista and epeeists Rebecca Chimahusky and Orlando.

Although the women will be competing with the best fencers in the sport, the men’s team is no pushover.

The men’s program will be showcasing an elite list of fencers including sophomore foilist Jakub Jedrkowiak, junior sabre Matt Stearns and junior epeeist Aaron Adjemian.

In addition to the veterans in the men’s program, the freshmen are also proving themselves to be a critical part to the team’s overall success. Freshman foilist Mark Kubik is credited as a significant inspiration in last week’s duals at NYU.

“At NYU he told his teammates that ‘we just have to execute,’ Montoya said. “He wants to do well and works hard to get other people motivated. Everyday he works hard in practice and it is going to pay off.”

The women’s portion of the competition begins on Saturday at 8 a.m. at the Joyce Center Fieldhouse.