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Fencing

Irish complete successful weekend at home

| Sunday, February 8, 2015

Notre Dame dominated the annual DeCicco Duals, with the men’s and women’s teams going undefeated over the course of the two-day meet at Castellan Family Fencing Center despite missing several fencers due to international competitions.

“It’s actually a plus [that we competed] without the leaders and standout players because everyone picked up the slack and did the job,” Irish coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said. “It definitely speaks to our preparation.”

The Irish kicked off the first day with a slew of wins, topping Cleveland State, 23-4 on the men’s side and 26-1 on the women’s side; Wayne State, 23-4 on the men’s side and 25-2 on the women’s side; Lawrence, 21-6 on the men’s side and 25-2 on the women’s side; and Detroit, 24-3 and 26-1 on the men’s and women’s sides, respectively.

After the first two rounds, the Irish seniors — epees Nicole Ameli and Ashley Severson, foil Madison Zeiss and sabre Mary Regan on the women’s side and foils Ariel DeSmet, Alan Markow and Gabriel Acuña, sabre Bill Meckling and epees Dale Purdy, Ryan McDonough and Mark O’Dea on the men’s side — were honored in their last home competition of the regular season.

The Irish continued their strong hold on the competition into the second day of the tournament. The Irish beat Bradley, 25-2 and 27-0; Indiana, 25-2 and 27-0; Wisconsin, 25-2 and 25-2; Michigan State, 22-5 and 25-2; and Michigan, 22-5 and 23-4 on the men’s and women’s sides, respectively.

During the tournament, the Irish competed almost nonstop, with only a single bye in the first round on the first day.

“It’s all about keeping the focus right now,” Kvaratskhelia said. “[The team] has been competing for three straight weeks, and our performances speaks for the wear and tear of the athletes. The key is keeping the composure, which we accomplished.”

There was a moment of silence before Saturday’s competition in remembrance of former Irish fencer Daniel Kim. Kim, who competed for Notre Dame in 2012-2013, died Friday.

Going into the championship season, the women’s team boasts a 29-2 record this season while the men’s team has a 23-6 record for the regular season.

“This competition was part of our preparation for the ACC champs,” Kvaratskhelia said. “After this weekend, we are getting to the point where we can say we are competitive for the championships.”

The Irish will start their championship season at their first-ever ACC championships on Feb. 21-22, followed by an NCAA qualifier and potentially the NCAA championships in late March.

“This is new territory for us,” Kvaratskhelia said. “As coaches, we are going to do the analysis and get together to devise two weeks of special training regimen to hopefully have the team at its best by conferences.”

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