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Irish prepare for Duke Duals

| Thursday, February 8, 2018

After hosting duals for the past two weekends, the No. 1-ranked Irish will travel to Durham, North Carolina, to participate in the Duke Duals.

Irish head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said he’s fully aware of the intense competition they’ll be facing this weekend.

“All the teams there will be tough to deal with,” he said. “Especially No. 4 Penn State, Duke and North Carolina.”

Lucas Masin-Moyer | The Observer
Irish junior foil Nicole Gorman parries her opponent during Notre Dame’s 16-0 win a the DeCicco Duals on Jan.28 at the Castellan Family Fencing Center.

This matchup will serve as a preview for later ACC matches against the Blue Devils and Tar Heels. Both Duke and North Carolina participated in the Northwestern Duals held at the Castellan Family Fencing Center last weekend but neither competed against the Irish.

The women will be without juniors foilist Sabrina Massialas and eppist Amanda Sirico, who will travel to Barcelona, Spain, for the World Cup.

Kvaratskhelia said their absence leaves the roster thinner than usual, but he’s confident others will step up and contribute.

Sirico was recently named ACC Female Fencer of the Week after helping lead the Irish to an undefeated weekend at the Northwestern Duals, including victories in six ranked matchups.

This was the second time Sirico, who improved her career record to 93-25, has been honored by the conference.

“She’s been solid against top competition all season,” Kvaratskhelia said. “This honor is a tribute to her effort against top eppists from Princeton, Ohio State and Penn.” 

The men will look to recover after dropping two matchups in the Northwestern duals.

The foil squad will face off against a strong Duke team, including Blue Devil freshman Brycen Rushing who was named ACC Male Fencer of the Week.

This weekend marks the last regular season dual before post season play begins. Several members of the Irish squad will travel to Memphis, Tennessee, on Feb. 16 to participate in the USA Fencing Junior Olympics.

“The USA Fencing Junior Olympics is the final selection for the U.S. national team for the upcoming world championship in April. We have several athletes competing for positions,” Kvaratskhelia said.

On Feb. 24 Notre Dame will return to North Carolina as the team looks to clinch the ACC championship in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Kvaratskhelia said four athletes from each weapon group will represent each team. Those selections are based on the national power rankings of individual fencers that will be released in the upcoming weeks.

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