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Fencing: Both teams sweep field at duals

Michael Todisco | Sunday, January 30, 2011

Both the Irish men’s and women’s squads survived the Notre Dame Duals unblemished over the weekend, each posting a perfect 8-0 record.

The women (19-0) competed Saturday, improving their winning streak to 78 regular season matches, a new program record. Notre Dame registered victories over Lawrence (25-2), Detroit (27-0), Cleveland State (24-3), Florida (26-1), Air Force (21-6), Swarthmore (22-5), Wayne State (21-6) and seventh-ranked Northwestern (18-9).

Assistant Coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said the women’s sabre team helped establish Notre Dame’s dominance in the tournament with an early win over highly ranked Northwestern.

“Our sabre girls set the tone for the weekend when they beat Northwestern’s squad 8-1 and made all the other weapons’ lives much easier,” he said.

Sabre assistant coach Ian Farr said the Irish took a slightly different approach this weekend.

“This weekend was more about getting a lot of new kids into competition,” he said. “Many of the starters didn’t fence much at all, so it was a real opportunity for some new faces.”

Amongst the new faces was Marta Stepien, who finished the day 12-0. Farr said that he was extremely pleased with the performance from the sophomore sabreist.

“Marta stepped in and fenced very well,” he said. “She is emerging into someone who could really make an impact on the team.”

Kvaratskhelia was also impressed by the performance from senior foilist Haley Reese.

“Haley was dominant yesterday,” Kvaratskhelia said. “She is getting to the form we expected her to be in for this time of year.”

Other strong performances from the women include junior Courtney Hurley and senior Ewa Nelip, who both posted 8-0 marks for the weekend. Senior Katie Heinzman (13-1) and freshman Adriana Camacho (11-0) led the Irish foilists, while junior Beatriz Almeida (15-2) and sophomore Abigail Nichols (15-1) led the epee team.

The men (18-1) also swept through the competition, competing Sunday.

Kvaratskhelia said the most important story for the Irish was the return of Teddy Hodges, who battled back from a heart transplant just over a year ago. Hodges posted a 15-4 mark over the weekend.

“Teddy is showing great courage and not giving up,” Kvaratskhelia said. “This [was] his coming out party and he [was] fencing phenomenally.”

Senior epee captain Andy Seroff was pleased with the squad’s performance over the weekend.

“I think I speak for everyone when I say we are at the top of our game,” he said. “We get a lot of teams from this area, and you never know who will throw and upset our way, but we really held our ground this weekend.”

Sophomore Grant Hodges (19-1) and junior Nicholas Crebs (20-1) led a strong foil squad for the Irish.

Eight Irish epeeists posted at least five wins over the weekend, with seniors Brent Kelly and Greg Schoolcraft each posting eight wins and sophomore Jack Piaso tallying seven.

The men’s sabre team rested their starters and got a strong performance from freshman Carl Ianario (9-1) in its place.

The Irish next compete at the Northwestern Duals this weekend.