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Top-ranked Irish teams dominate at DeCicco Duals

| Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The No. 1-ranked Notre Dame women’s and No. 2-ranked men’s fencing teams recorded clean sweeps of the competition at the annual DeCicco Duals as both squads went 14-0 over the weekend.

Head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia discussed what the duals, hosted by the Irish in the North Dome of Purcell Pavilion, mean to the program.

“The DeCicco Duals are important to us for two reasons,” Kvaratskhelia said. “First, it’s named after our legendary head coach, Mike DeCicco. He built the foundations of our program and it would be nowhere near where it is today without his efforts. It honors his legacy of building fencing in the Midwest by bringing in the varsity and club teams from our region to our home to compete. Second, it gives our entire roster a chance to compete and contribute.”

The Irish outclassed virtually all of the competition. The women’s team did not lose a single match to Detroit Mercy, Lawrence or Wayne State, besting each by a score of 27-0 on the first day of competition. They also beat Denison 26-1, Florida 25-2 and Cleveland State 24-3.

Their toughest competition came against the No. 9-ranked Northwestern women’s team. Despite losing the advantage in epee duals 2-7, the Irish edged out the Wildcats 14-13 behind a 5-4 showing in foil and a 7-2 mark in sabre. Kvaratskhelia praised his group for handling the tough test the Wildcats presented.

“Naturally, we are satisfied with the results,” he said. “Earlier in the season, we had problems closing out bouts and matches against ranked opponents such as Northwestern. This time, we were able to do so. We will have to match or exceed this effort going forward. Specifically, I’d like to tip the cap to our women’s sabre squad, who gave us the biggest boost against Northwestern.”

The men also had a strong showing, shutting out three opponents in their own right as they defeated Detroit Mercy, Northwestern and Florida 27-0 apiece. Their toughest test came against Wayne State, who bested the Irish in foil duals 6-3, but the hosts controlled the sabre and epee fights 7-2 and 8-1, respectively.

The second day of competition saw the Irish face a new set of competitors as they took on larger regional foes from the Midwest. Once more the women recorded three shutouts, this time against Case Western Reserve, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

The narrowest margin of victory was 15 points, as the Irish beat Chicago 21-6, with the next closest margin being a 23-4 victory over Michigan. Sabre continued to be the strongest weapon for the Irish as they recorded several shutouts and recorded no worse a record than 8-1 against any opponent.

The men’s team followed suit, getting their three shutouts yet again. Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin all fell 27-0 as the Spartans and Badgers failed to have a single competitor defeat his or her Irish counterpart the whole day. The men’s closest call was a 20-7 win over Chicago, while they also defeated Case Western Reserve 26-1 and recorded a couple of 25-2 victories over Purdue and Indiana.

Next up, the Irish will travel to Northwestern University to participate in the Northwestern duals, where they will get rematches against the Wildcats and Ohio State, the latter of whom they faced at the St. John’s Invitational on Jan. 18. They will take on Stanford and top-10 opponent Princeton as well.

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About Hayden Adams

Hayden is the former sports editor of The Observer. When he's not working toward his four majors (physics and film, television & theatre) and three minors (journalism, ethics & democracy), you can probably find him hopelessly trying to save his beloved Zahm House from being wiped out. He plans to attend law school at a TBD location after graduation.

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