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Winning streaks carry on as Irish end season

Matt Mooney | Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams love to go streaking.Saturday’s dominating performance at the West vs. Central Dual Meet in West Lafayette, Ind. closed out a perfect 26-0 season for the No. 1 ranked women. The men finished the season 24-1, with a loss to top-ranked St. John’s the only blemish on their schedule.The six wins at the meet – against one varsity team and five club teams – extended the women’s dual meet winning streak to 40 over the past two seasons. That streak ranks third-best all time in program history, behind only a 75-meet streak from 1993-96 and 42-meet streak from 1985-86.The undefeated season also marks the first time the women’s team has completed the regular season without a loss since the 1994-95 season.The No. 2 men’s team had its own stretch of perfection this season. The men continued their run of 90 consecutive regular season victories into this season – a streak that dated back to 2000. St. John’s ended that streak at the New York University Dual Meet in the only Irish loss of the season. An even more dominating performance at the West vs. Central Duals helped the Irish men finish the regular season strong.Both squads controlled the competition Saturday. No team posted double-digit wins against the Irish, as Michigan and the University of Chicago were the only teams able to approach Notre Dame. The men dispatched both squads by 19-8 scores, while the women dominated with two, 21-6 victories. Michigan State (24-3 men, 22-5 women), Detroit Mercy (27-0, 23-4), Wisconsin (23-4, 24-3) and host Purdue (25-2, 24-3) proved less of a challenge.The wins were more impressive because walk-ons provided much of the help. The University of Detroit fielded the only varsity team in attendance, so the Irish were able to give non-scholarship fencers experience.Senior foilist Matt Castellan was pleased with how the walk-ons carried themselves on the strip.”[The wins] say something about the commitment [of] the entire team and not just the starters,” Castellan said. “It’s a testament to the fact that the entire team is 100 percent when we’re practicing.”Streaks were not the only milestones reached either. With her 7-2 record on Saturday, senior foilist Maggie Jordan became the second fencer in the history of Notre Dame men’s or women’s fencing to record 80 career victories with two weapons. At her current position in foil, Jordan owns an 83-36 record. She also holds a career mark of 85-22 at sabre.Claudette deBruin, who fenced from 1993-96, is the only other fencer to accomplish the feat with 152 wins at epee and 81 at foil.Jordan was one of many fencers who finished the season with strong performances. Freshman epeeist Amy Orlando continued her late season surge, finishing the day at a perfect 14-0. She has won 45 of her last 50 bouts. Following her on the women’s side were senior sabres Danielle Davis and Natalia Mazur, who both swept through the day with 17-0 records apiece.On the men’s side, freshman foilist Frankie Bontempo capped off his rookie campaign with an unblemished 11-0 record. Fellow foilist Castellan complemented his performance with a 17-1 mark.For Castellan, the tournament added to the growing anticipation of the post-season, especially among the new fencers.”We are very excited,” he said. “Everyone’s really anxious to qualify the full 12 and get on to NCAAs. It’s a totally different format compared to anything [the freshmen] have ever fenced in. That’s the only question mark, but we’re all confident that they’re talented and motivated.”The Irish will not fence again as a team until the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships March 6 at the Joyce Center.