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Fencing

ND posts successful weekend at DeCicco Duals

| Monday, February 10, 2014

The Irish fencing squads captured 15 wins and suffered only one loss as they hosted the DeCicco Duals on Saturday and Sunday in the Castellan Family Fencing Center.

Both the men and women, donning “Coach DeCicco” armbands in honor of late Notre Dame coach and event namesake Mike DeCicco, found early success in the Saturday morning match against Cleveland State, which the men won, 26-1, and the women won, 25-2.

They then turned to Northwestern, and again the teams looked strong in their respective 20-7 victories. On the men’s side, Northwestern edged the Irish epeeists, 5-4. The women’s epee team was 9-0 against the Wildcats and 31-5 for the day.

After a lunch break, the teams continued their success, beating Wayne State 22-5 on the men’s side and 23-4 on the women’s side.

A record fan section of 698 peaked mid-afternoon, just in time for the most exciting matchup of the day between the Irish and Penn State women. After Notre Dame fell behind 13-11 overall, a win by junior Ashley Severson on the epee strip and another by junior foilist Madison Zeiss tied the score at 13. All eyes turned to the final bout between senior foilist Adriana Camacho and Penn State junior Kane Gladnick.

With the teams and the record fan section looking on, the foilists went back and forth in a high-intensity matchup. A touch by Camacho put her up 4-3 with nine seconds remaining, and she defended herself for another touch to win, 5-3. The Irish fans and teams, previously silent with suspense, erupted to celebrate the electrifying 14-13 victory.

Senior foilist Adriana Camacho competes at the DeCicco Duals on Sunday. Camacho’s win gave the Irish a 14-13 win over Penn State.Emmet Farnan

Senior foilist Adriana Camacho competes at the DeCicco Duals on Sunday. Camacho’s win gave the Irish a 14-13 win over Penn State.

“She had beaten already two of the strongest girls [Penn State junior Alina Antokhina and sophomore Clarisse Luminet],” Irish coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said. “I had confidence that Adriana would pull this off.

“Over the last four years, I have seen steady progress in her performance, technically and emotionally. I would bet that 99 out of 100 times, Adriana would win that bout.”

Camacho was 3-0 against Penn State and an impressive 11-1 on the day.

The men did not fare quite as well against the Nitanny Lions, losing 18-9, including 7-2 losses for both the epee and sabre squads. Kvaratskhelia, however, said he was not wholly disappointed by the performance.

“We have beaten Penn State previously this year, so we knew we were going to get their best shot,” he said. “We had a couple slops, but it’s before the NCAAs, and now is a good time to correct them and move on.”

The Duals continued Sunday in the club teams competition, in which Notre Dame overmatched its competition, winning 152 of its 162 bouts in landslide victories against Bradley, Purdue and Chicago.

Several Irish fencers will compete individually in the National Junior Olympics next weekend. Meanwhile, Kvaratskhelia said, the Notre Dame team will continue to build its chemistry and prepare for the NCAA Championships in March.

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