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Fencing: Top-ranked teams struggle

Brendan Bell | Monday, February 11, 2013


The No. 2 Notre Dame men’s squad went 1-2 at the Duke Dual Meets, slipping against No. 1 Penn State 16-11, and No. 10 Duke 15-12, while earning a 17-10 win against Johns Hopkins in Durham, N.C.

Senior epee James Kaull paced the Irish throughout the men’s event, going 2-1 in each of his three matches on his way to a 6-3 record overall. Kaull said that the toughest competition was against No. 1 Penn State, especially since the Nittany Lions will be a challenge as the season moves on.

 “Penn State is our big rival for the national championships, so that was kind of a grudge match,” Kaull said.

As the home team, Duke had an opportunity to capitalize on a signature win against the Irish, winning a close matches in two of the three weapons. As for Johns Hopkins, Kaull said that the Blue Jays pose a challenge every time the teams meet because of their intensity level.

“They’re not typically competitive,” Kaull said. “They always bring a lot of intensity because they’ve got nothing to lose. They were very energetic from the beginning.”

Kaull said that the team was disappointed in its performance, but have a long season ahead of them.  

“On the men’s side, this is probably our poorest tournament so far,” Kaull said. “We were having trouble getting our stuff together.

“We were not as prepared as we probably should have been for these teams.”

Kaull said the team wouldn’t worry too much about one subpar performance.

“This was our fourth tournament in a row. It’s a long season,” Kaull said. “This is to be expected. There are lots of ups and downs in the season, you can’t control them, and when they do happen it’s important to remember that this is all part of the bigger picture and that it’s not good to get hung up on it.”

The No. 1 women’s squad earned mixed results on Sunday, beating No. 5 Penn State 20-7 and Duke 16-11 but falling to North Carolina 16-11.

Next weekend, select members of both the men’s and women’s teams will travel to the USFA Junior National Championships in Baltimore, Md

Contact Brendan Bell at bbell2@nd.edu