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Notre Dame wraps up successful weekend at Northwestern Duals

| Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This past weekend, No. 1 Notre Dame impressed yet again, this time as hosts at the Northwestern Duals held in Castellan Family Fencing Center. The top-ranked women went 11-0 and extended their current win streak to 22 matches while the No. 1 men walked away from the action at 7-2.

Eddie Griesedieck | The Observer
Irish junior sabreur Blake Murphy attempts to land a point against his opponent during the DeCicco Duals at Castellan Family Fencing Center on Jan. 28. Murphy missed last year due to injury.

On day one of competition, both squads started off with round one contests against Pennsylvania, as the women (35-1) escaped with a 15-12 win while the men (27-6) won an even more narrow matchup 14-13. Big performances in the round on the men’s side came from junior foilist Axel Kiefer, who went 3-0, while the women saw 3-0 performances out of junior foilist Sabrina Massialas and freshman foilist Reghan Ward.

Round two was a bit less stressful for the Irish, as the women won 19-8 over UC San Diego while the men nearly swept Cal Tech, earning the 26-1 victory. Notre Dame continued the solid play for the remainder of the day to go undefeated in the first act of the Northwestern Duals. The women were particularly impressive, defeating four top-ten teams in the process — coming out on top against No. 7 Temple, No. 4 Princeton, No. 8 Northwestern, Cal Tech and Fairleigh Dickinson. The men defeated UC San Diego, Northwestern and No. 6 Princeton to close out their day.

On day two, the Irish women continued their solid performance from the day before, going 4-0 against No. 5 Ohio State, Air Force, Incarnate Word and Stanford. A number of female fencers registered 3-0 performances, including junior foilist Elyssa Kleiner and Massialas in the closest match of the day, a 15-12 win over the Buckeyes. On the men’s side, day two posed a tougher test, yet the Irish persevered and scrapped their way to a 2-2 day. Despite opening with defeats to No. 2 Ohio State and No. 10 Stanford, both by a score of 15-12, Notre Dame bounced back with a 21-6 victory over Incarnate and a 17-10 win over Air Force.  Leading the way, particularly against the Falcons (9-13), was senior sabreur Jonah Shainberg, who went undefeated on the day. Senior epeeist Nicholas Hanahan, junior epeeist Dylan French, junior sabreur David Brown and senior  sabreur Jonathan Fitzgerald also delivered strong performances.

As they continue to defend their No. 1 ranking, the Irish will next be heading to Durham, North Carolina, where they will be participating at the Duke Duals, a two-day competition held from Feb. 10-11.

The upcoming weekend’s competition will be the last of the regular season for the Irish — the USA Fencing Junior Olympics are Feb. 16-19 in Memphis, Tennessee, with the ACC Championships in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to follow the next weekend.

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