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Fencing

ND sweeps competition at DeCicco Duals

| Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Notre Dame dominated at home over the weekend at Castellan Family Fencing Center, taking on six visiting club programs in the DeCicco Duals tournament.

The visiting teams were Wisconsin, Virginia, Michigan State, Michigan, Chicago and McKendree. Both the men’s and the women’s squads ended with perfect 6-0 records, managing to defeat all of their competition.

Irish sophomore Dylan French lunges at his opponent during the ACC championship on Feb. 28 at Castellan Family Fencing Center. The Irish men’s team defeat Boston College 23-4 and won the ACC title. Emmet Farnan | The Observer

Irish sophomore Dylan French lunges at his opponent during the ACC championship on Feb. 28 at Castellan Family Fencing Center. The Irish men’s team defeat Boston College 23-4 and won the ACC title.

The men, ranked No. 4 nationally, began with a 25-2 win over Wisconsin, a victory they quickly followed up on with a 23-3 win over Virginia, a 25-2 win over Michigan State and a 24-3 win against Chicago. The toughest battles for the Irish men proved to be against Michigan and McKendree, to who the Irish only gave up six points, ending each matchup with a 21-6 victory.

The Irish women, ranked No. 3 in the country, were even more dominant, dropping no more than four points against any team they faced. The women defeated Wisconsin handily with a 26-1 victory, and continued their dominant streak by defeating Virginia 25-2, Michigan and Michigan State 24-3, Chicago 23-4 and McKendree 25-2.

Head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia expressed pride in the squad’s ability to clinch matches.

“It was immediately after our senior recognition ceremony, and perhaps we weren’t as locked in as we should have been,” Kvaratskhelia said. “But coming back from being down 8-4 and 12-8 [in individual matches] was impressive — especially the latter. When we rattled off 5 wins to take a 13-12 lead, we were in good shape. Madi Antekeier’s OT win put us at 13-12, and was huge.”

On the men’s side, several players had notable performances including senior sabreur Ian Dwyer, who ended the day with a 9-1 record. Sophomore John Crandall also posted nine wins with an overall 9-4 record at sabre, making him and Dwyer the Irish leaders in victories. Other strong contributors were junior sabreur Ian Jones, senior foilist John Crumpler and freshman foilist Nicholas Sloan, each ending the day with 8-0 records.

On the women’s side, junior sabreuse Madeline Gallagher was the team leader with 17 wins and zero losses on the day. Freshmen Christina Boitano, Natalie Disher and Regina O’Brien also made strong contributions posting 9-0, 8-0 and 7-0 records, respectively. The women’s epee team included strong performances by junior Marie-Anne Roche with a 7-0 record to end the day, and sophomores Antekeier and Molly Hudson, who were both 6-0 on Sunday. In the foil event, the team had four undefeated performances with junior Reagan Fitzgerald going 8-0 to lead the way.

Although the Irish were dominant, the team still looks forward to next competition with getting better in mind, said Kvaratskhelia.

“We want to improve our consistency,” said Kvaratskhelia. “Even though we may not have certain people available due to international competition, the people who we have need to step up. This weekend, the competition will be longer, and tougher, so consistency and depth are even more important.”

The Irish will return to competition Saturday and Sunday for the Northwestern Duals, hosted by Northwestern but held at home at Castellan Family Fencing Center while the Wildcats’ facilities are being renovated.

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