The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Fencing: Both teams defeat Penn State at Northwestern d

Michael Blasco | Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The No. 1 men (17-0) and the No. 2 women’s team (17-2) combined to go 22-0 at the Northwestern Duels this weekend, knocking off seven ranked opponents in the progress. Both squads posted victories over top-ranked Penn State teams during the Evanston, Ill. event.

The men, who finished the weekend 9-0, turned in wins over Johns Hopkins (23-4), Northwestern (20-7), Cleveland State (24-3), No. 10 North Carolina (21-6), Wayne State (24-3) Detroit (24-3), Lawrence (27-0) No. 3 Ohio State (15-12) and Penn State (14-13), who currently are tied with the Irish atop the USFCA poll.

On the women’s side, the team went 11-0 with wins against John’s Hopkins (25-2), No. 1 Penn State (19-8), No. 8 Temple (19-8), Farleigh Dickinson (24-3), Lawrence (25-2) Wayne State (23-4), Cleveland State (26-1), North Carolina (23-4), No. 6 Northwestern (16-11), Detroit (27-0) and No. 3 Ohio State (17-10).

On Saturday, the men’s team’s scintillating 14-13 victory over Penn State set the tone for the Irish. Holding a narrow 13-12 lead late in the match, Notre Dame head coach Janusz Bednarski made a late substitution, placing sophomore Jacob Osborne into the epee lineup. After falling behind 4-3 in a match that needed five touches for a win, Osborne picked up two quick touches to clinch the victory for the Irish.

The NCAA debut of freshman foil Gerek Meinhardt was another highlight for the Notre Dame men; the 2008 Olympian led the team with 16 wins, including match-clinching victories against Cleveland State, Detroit and Ohio State. Senior All-American epeeist Karol Kostka finished the weekend with 15 wins, with a 3-0 mark against Ohio State in one of the tightest matches of the event. Sophomore All-American foil Steve Kubik and freshman epeeist Keith Feldman each posted 14 wins on the weekend.

“Meinhardt does not need my recommendation for he is one of the best foilists not only in the USA or North America but in the world,” Bednarski said. “He has talent, skill and great technique from his club coach and the experience from the 2008 Olympic Games.”

The Irish women made a strong case for a No. 1 ranking with three wins over ranked teams, including blowouts over No. 1 Penn State and No. 3 Ohio State.

For the women’s epee team, sophomore captain and All-American Ewa Nelip finished the weekend with a perfect 18-0 record, while freshman Courtney Hurley ended up 17-2. The two have been nearly unbeatable in 2009, with respective 37-2 and 31-5 records through three events.

“Nelip is one of the best European epeeists,” Bednarski said. “She is a great talent and great performer with a blend of intelligence and sporting excellence. She is fencer who can be a decisive factor in hard matches as she competes with true Fighting Irish character and spirit.”

Sophomore All-American foil Hayley Reese paced all Notre Dame fencers with 24 wins against one loss over the weekend, with a match-clinching victory over Ohio State, while senior sabre Ashley Serrette led her squad with 23 wins. Sophomore All-American sabre and 2008 National Champion Sarah Bormann finished 19-2, and eclipsed the 100-win mark on her career.

The Irish return to competition Friday at the Duke Duals in Durham, N.C., before hosting this weekend’s Notre Dame Duels in the Joyce Center.