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Fencing: Notre Dame prepares for home advantage

By Brendan Bell | Friday, February 22, 2013

With the regular season coming to a close, the Irish will compete in their final dual meet of the season at the Notre Dame Duals on Saturday. Sophomore women’s foil Madison Zeiss said the challenges the Irish will face this weekend provide a good measuring stick for both the No. 2 men’s and No. 1 women’s sides.

“I definitely think Northwestern will be the most solid competition and Wayne State is also a very good team for the women’s foil,” Zeiss said. “Air Force is particularly strong on the men’s side, as well.”

Cleveland State, Detroit and Lawrence College will also compete. The No. 8 Wildcats women’s team will present one of the biggest challenges for Notre Dame during the meet.

Zeiss said competing in the Joyce Center provides the Irish with a sense of familiarity. But she also said Notre Dame focuses well when competing away from home.

“Knowing the gym and knowing the set up and everything will definitely be nice,” Zeiss said. “When we travel and when we get on the bus we attain a great sense of focus and we need to be careful to have that same focus here on campus and I think we will do it.”

The Midwestern Conference championships follow the Notre Dame Duals and are only a piece of the larger puzzle for the Irish, who aim to win a men’s and women’s national championship. If Notre Dame makes the national championship round, it will compete in San Antonio, Texas, for a fourth national championship under Irish coach Janusz Bednarski.

“This is a good tournament to practice and get our feet under us before the NCAA qualifiers,” Zeiss said.

Since the beginning of the season, Zeiss said the team has grown in many dimensions.

“I definitely think the entire team has improved,” Zeiss said. “The new epee coach has really improved a lot and some times they have been really carrying the team and I think they will continue to do great for us in the upcoming matches.

“We have all been training hard and as a team have improved … By NCAAs we will be peaking, I think and ready to compete for the national championship.”

The Notre Dame Duals will take place all day Saturday in in the Joyce Center.

Contact Brendan Bell at bbell2@nd.edu