Notre Dame closes regular season in Durham
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, February 9, 2016
The Irish closed out their regular season with standout performances on both the men’s and women’s teams at the Duke Duals in Durham, North Carolina. The No. 2 men’s team went 4-1 on the first day of the event, and the No. 2 women’s team finished its undefeated regular season strong with a 5-0 sweep on day two.
While Notre Dame prevailed over No. 4 Penn State at the DeCicco Duals last weekend, the men’s team fell 16-11 to the Nittany Lions in its first round of bouts on Saturday. Poor performances in the epee (3-6) and sabre (2-7) categories set the team back early.
The Irish recovered with four wins to follow: Notre Dame topped John Hopkins, 22-5, Brandeis, 25-2, and notched two more wins over conference opponents, beating No. 9 Duke, 16-11 and North Carolina, 25-2.
Sophomore Virgile Collineau led the foil squad with a 14-1 performance for the day, while sophomore sabre Jonah Shainberg finished 13-2. Both fencers went 3-0 against the host Blue Devils, which proved critical to win that ACC rivalry match.
The women’s bouts began Sunday, and the Irish did not fail to live up to their undefeated record. They began with a 17-10 win over Duke, with perfect scores by senior Catherine Lee in foil and sophomore Francesca Russo and freshman Tara Hassett in sabre.
Russo and Hassett led the sabre squad which went 9-0 in the 24-3 Irish win over Brandeis, and the foilists went 9-0 against conference opponent North Carolina, who also fell to the Irish, 24-3.
Sophomore Erin Dietsche and freshman Elyssa Kleiner both had flawless 3-0 performances in the foil in Notre Dame’s 16-11 win over No. 9 Penn State, while freshman epee Madeline Antekeier also went 3-0 when the Irish defeated No. 10 Temple, 17-10. These ACC matches were major victories for the women’s team, which is just two points shy of taking Columbia’s place as the No. 1 women’s team in the country.
The ACC championships loom on the horizon to determine final rankings at the end of this month. It will be the first neutral-site ACC championship that Notre Dame has hosted in any sport, to be held at the Castellan Family Fencing Center.
But in the interim, some of the team is traveling to the Junior Olympic Fencing Championships for individual competition. The four-day meet begins Friday in Cleveland.