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Fencing: Notre Dame advances to regionals

Matthew Robison | Wednesday, March 7, 2012

After the Irish narrowly fell to Ohio State in Sunday’s Midwest Conference championships Sunday, they will take part in the NCAA Regional championships in Cleveland this weekend.

Despite the loss, the men earned first in the sabre and foil competitions and second place in the epee. The women claimed second in the sabre, and third in the epee and foil competitions.

“For the team, it’s a stepping stone in a big, long journey we have toward a second NCAA championship,” junior James Kaull said.

The Irish were a bit surprised by the strength of the Buckeyes, but were also pleased with the depth across the board for Notre Dame.

“In previous years, we’ve really rolled over those guys,” Kaull said. “This year they’re very strong. In fact, they might the strongest team in the country.”

Junior Jack Piasio echoed Kaull’s sentiment, but added that Notre Dame is certainly competitive with Ohio State and is right there at the top. The final tally in the men’s epee was 5-1, but every bout was close.

“If Ohio State is the No. 1 team in the country, we’re just as good if not better than them,” Piasio said. “Everyone’s competitive from top to bottom — the whole squad. That shows a lot of depth and resilience in the performance of everyone out there.”

If the Irish learned they can compete with the best teams in the country and perhaps repeat as national champions, they also learned there is a good deal of work to be done to get ultimately achieve their goal.

“It’s confirmation that we are where we want to be in some degrees and we are not where we want to be in other degrees,” Kaull said. “It’s an important accomplishment for our program as a whole.”

The window of time the Irish can make those improvements is dwindling.

“This is a great barometer. We’re going up against all these guys individually this next weekend in Regionals,” Piasio said. “Seeing how they fence here, seeing how we match up to them. You can make a few tweaks to your game in a day. We can’t really change anything drastically.”

Following the NCAA Regional championships in Cleveland, the Irish will partake in the NCAA championships 10 days later in Columbus, Ohio.


Contact Matthew Robison at [email protected]