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Notre Dame falls to Northwestern 14-13

Joe Meixell | Monday, February 26, 2007

The Wildcats got their revenge, but Notre Dame solidified its status as an elite squad at the Northwestern Duals in Evanston, Ill. Saturday.

A month after beating Northwestern 14-13 at the NYU Duals, the No. 4 Irish women fell by the same score to the No. 6 Wildcats in their next-to-last regular season competition.

The Notre Dame women went 5-2 on the weekend, but both loses were by a single bout and came to top-10 teams. The Irish also lost 14-13 to No. 1 Penn State.

“I think that the whole tournament shows us one positive thing – that we are not the strongest team in the nation, but we are not far away,” Irish coach Janusz Bednarski said.

Freshman epeeist Kelley Hurley, senior sabreist Valerie Providenza, sophomore sabreist Ashley Serrette and sophomore foilist Adrienne Nott were the stars of the competition for Notre Dame.

The freshman Hurley went 12-1 Saturday to improve her record to 51-4, while the veteran Providenza went to 51-7 on the season with a 16-1 weekend. Both only lost a bout to Northwestern.

Nott was 17-2, and Serrette finished 18-2. Both Nott and Serrette only had losses in the matches against Penn State and Northwestern.

Bednarski said Serrette’s performance was the highlight of the week for Notre Dame.

“If I would choose the person, one name, I would say that Ashley Serrette is the fencer of the competition for us,” he said. “That is how she performed.”

Bednarski said Serrette’s marked improvement this year has been a positive even he couldn’t expect.

On the men’s side, the Irish went 3-1.

The No. 6 Notre Dame men fell 16-11 to No. 1 Penn State in the squad’s only true test of the weekend.

“I think that the men’s side told us that Penn State University is one of the best universities in the nation – probably the best,” Bednarski said. “Our kids were fencing strong too. The match was lost, but there was no tragedy. It wasn’t easy for Penn State.”

Notre Dame lost just five of its 81 individual bouts in its three other team mat-chups.

The men posted a shutout over Lawrence, with senior epeeist Aaron Adjemian, senior sabreist Patrick Ghattas, senior foilist Frank Bontempo and sophomore foilists Alex Grigorenko and Mark Kubik posting 3-0 records in the team bout.

Against Penn State, Kubik, senior epeeist Karol Kostka and sophomore sabreist Bill Thanhouser were the only Notre Dame fencers to finish with winning records, all going 2-1.

Kostka finished the weekend 10-1, while Bontempo and Ghattas each went 10-2.

In the men’s final team bout, the Irish routed Detroit, 25-2.