Fencing: Irish beat UNC, Duke, Hopkins to sweep Duke Duals
Michael Todisco | Monday, February 14, 2011
The Irish finished the weekend undefeated, capping off a successful regular season in which the both the men and women grabbed hold of the top national ranking.
A small group from the men’s team traveled to North Carolina to compete in the Duke Duals, where they defeated Duke, North Carolina and Johns Hopkins, winning a trophy at each weapon. The remainder of the men and women’s teams remained at home, with matches against club teams from Illinois, Chicago and Michigan State.
At Duke, the Irish started off strong, defeating the Tar Heels 18-9. The foil squad led the way, notching a 7-2 win, while épée won 6-3 and sabre squeaked by with a 5-4 decision.
Next, the Irish defeated the host Blue Devils 19-8. The foil and épée squads both recorded 7-2 advantages, while the sabre was again victorious in a close match with a 5-4 edge. Notre Dame’s most lopsided victory came against Johns Hopkins, where the Irish crushed the Blue Jays 23-4. The foil and épée posted impressive 8-1 victories, with the sabre not far behind, winning 7-2.
Senior épéeist Greg Schoolcraft led the weapon with a 6-2 record over the weekend. Junior Reggie Bentley and senior Steve Kubik led the foil with 8-1 marks, while freshman Kevin Hassett led the sabreists with a 6-3 mark.
Meanwhile, both the men and women stayed home and each posted three victories against Illinois, Chicago and Michigan State.
The men’s team took down Chicago 23-4, Illinois 23-4, and Michigan State 25-2 all in dominant fashion. The women also swept through the day, with a 22-5 victory against Chicago, a 26-1 win verses Illinois and a 24-3 win over Michigan State.
For the men, sophomore Jack Piaso led the épée with an 8-1 mark, freshman Nicholas Kubik went 6-0 for the foils, and senior Barron Nydam went 5-0 for the sabre.
Junior épéeist Diane Zielinski, who went 7-2, led the women, freshman Adriana Camacho and senior Katie Heinzen went 8-1 for the foils, and sophomore Daniele Guilfoyle went 5-0 for the sabre.
Sophomore épéeist Jack Piaso said that while the fencers who did not travel to Duke only faced club team competition, the matches were still meaningful to many individuals.
“Even though the competition was not as strong, it was still important to perform well to finalize monogram qualifications,” he said.
Piaso said that the team is in a strong position after the regular season and looking forward to post season events.
“We are definitely feeling fairly confident,” he said. “We showed through the year that there is a lot of depth on the team.”
The women’s squad finished the season undefeated, while the men had one loss to St. Johns. Piaso said that the loss was a great motivating factor for the Irish, and could even be a positive moving forward.
“Ever since the lone loss to St. Johns, it woke everyone up and humbled some people,” he said. “We have been working a lot harder ever since. We have gone into NCAAs undefeated the past couple years and have underperformed.
Now that we know we are beatable, we will go in even tougher.”
The Irish begin their postseason effort March 5-6 at the Midwest Fencing Championships.