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Fencing

Notre Dame places second in conference event

| Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Irish fell just short of defending their Midwestern Fencing Conference (MFC) Championship this weekend, as they finished second to Ohio State in the 21-team tournament held at Castellan Family Fencing Center in the Joyce Center.

Irish sophomore fencer Lee Kiefer, right, competes during the DiCicco Duals at the Castellan Family Fencing Center on Feb. 8.Wei Lin

Irish sophomore fencer Lee Kiefer, right, competes during the DiCicco Duals at the Castellan Family Fencing Center on Feb. 8.

The two-day competition kicked off Saturday with the individual competition. The Irish got off to hot start, with senior Ariel DeSmet defending his MFC title in the foil.

Irish sophomore Lee Kiefer also defended her title in women’s foil, knocking off 2012 Lebanese Olympian and Ohio State junior Mona Shaito in the final. Irish junior Madison Zeiss finished third, while Irish sophomore Nicole McKee notched a fifth-place finish.

In women’s epee, the Irish junior duo of Nicole Ameli and Ashley Severson finished in second and third, respectively. On the men’s side, Irish sophomore Garrett McGrath settled for a tie for third with freshman Arthur Le Meur after falling to Ohio State junior Kristian Boyadzhiev in the semifinals.

Sabre rounded out the first day of competition, as two 2013 champions, Irish sophomores John Hallsten and Johanna Thill, were unable to defend their titles. Hallsten finished second, while Thill slid into third.

The second day of competition was largely a two-team affair, with the Irish and Buckeyes battling for conference supremacy in five of the six weapons finals.

In the first action of the day, the Irish trio of Hallsten and seniors Kevin Hassett and Alex Coccia put Notre Dame on the board early with a win over the Buckeyes in men’s sabre.

Men’s epee fell in the semifinals to Northwestern but locked down a third-place finish with a 5-1 win over Michigan State. Junior Dale Purdy and sophomore John Poremski each notched two wins over the Spartans.

The men’s foil final between the Irish and Buckeyes featured past NCAA champions DeSmet, Irish senior Gerek Meinhardt and Buckeyes senior Zain Shaito. It was the Buckeyes, though, who got the best of DeSmet, Meinhardt and senior Nick Kubik and notched a 5-2 win. Both Irish victories came from Meinhardt. The Irish defeat clinched the men’s title for the Buckeyes.

In women’s sabre and foil, the Irish and Buckeyes swapped blowout victories, with the Ohio State rolling 5-2 in sabre and the Irish rebounding with a 5-1 victory in foil. This left the women’s title up for grabs in the epee final.

The Irish sent out Ameli, Severson and freshman Eva Niklinska to attempt to clinch the conference title for the Irish. After Ameli and Severson notched three wins for the Irish, Niklinska stepped up for the final bout of the day with the score tied 3-3 and a chance to win the women’s title. Buckeyes sophomore Becca Rutan got the best of the freshman, and the Buckeyes took the weapon, women’s and team title.

The Irish will attempt to rebound next week when they travel to the NCAA Midwest Regionals on Saturday at the Hype Recreation Center in Dearborn Heights, Mich.

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