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Fencing: Men’s team completes perfect season in Duals

Chris Masoud | Monday, February 9, 2009

Perfection in the sports world is hardly commonplace, but for the Irish fencing program perfection is just second nature. The top-ranked Notre Dame men’s fencing team put together a 14-0 record at the Notre Dame Duals this weekend to finish the regular season at a perfect 34-0.

The undefeated 2009 season is the 20th in program history and the first since 2003. The men’s win total of 34 is the highest in Notre Dame history.

The men’s squad earned victories over Lawrence (25-2), Cal Tech (22-5), UC San Diego (18-9), Wayne State (19-8) and Oberlin (25-2). Facing seventh-ranked Stanford in a highly-anticipated matchup, the Irish emerged victorious with a 15-12 win over the Cardinal to protect their undefeated record.

Once again the underclassmen led the way for the Irish, as freshmen Reggie Bentley and Gerek Meinhardt, and sophomore Avery Zuck each contributed two wins. Although relatively inexperienced, Irish coach Janusz Bednarski believes his youngsters are adapting rapidly to collegiate fencing.

“They are adjusting very quickly to the different type of competition, the different type of bouts because definitely it’s a different system,” Bednarski said. “Sometimes there are surprises from the intensity of the bouts, intensity between schools, and intensity of engagement. But I believe we will also be successful on this field.”

Not to be outdone by the men’s team, the Irish women also went undefeated at the Duals with a weekend record of 12-0. The women’s squad improves to 32-2 on the season, tying the program-best mark in win totals originally set in 1995.

The women’s outstanding performance was highlighted by wins over Michigan State (21-6), Air Force (23-4), UC San Diego (21-6), Detroit (25-2), Cleveland State (26-1), Florida (24-3), Cal Tech (24-3), and Stanford (21-6).

Experience led the way for the women’s squad, as senior sabreist Ashley Serrette earned her program-best 234th win, 43 more wins than the second-best total for sabre. Senior foilist Adrienne Nott tallied 24 wins at the event, moving into fourth place for all-time career foil wins.

Although the Irish eagerly await the beginning of the postseason in two weeks, several of the talented underclassmen will head to New Mexico to compete in the Junior Olympics, which begin on February 13th.