Fencing squad sweeps all available titles at ACC Championships
Observer Sports Staff | Monday, February 24, 2020
The Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing squads, playing hosts this weekend of the ACC Championships, put on a dominant performance against some of the team’s most notable conference rivals. In the end, the Irish walked away with a sweep of the individual titles Saturday and both team titles Sunday.
Things started off on a great foot for the Irish on Saturday afternoon as the men’s individual competition kicked off. The men claimed nine victories early on in the morning’s pool competition. The Irish were led by freshman George Bivins, who led the field in sabre, and sophomore Andrew Machovec, who led the field in foil.
In sabre, sophomores Malcolm Fields, Jared Smith and Alessandro Contreras joined the victory parade; in foil, freshman Marcello Olivares and junior Joey Marino earned victories; and in epee, sophomore Josiah Broughton and senior Darius Zacharakis also claimed wins.
The Irish claimed all four spots in the sabre semifinals, and Contreras, the No. 4 seed in the contest, came out on top in the finals against Jared Smith to become the first member of Notre Dame’s squad to claim a championship on the weekend. Despite the finals loss, Smith earned All-ACC honors for the first time in his career with the performance.
In epee, Broughton advanced to the finals and claimed the victory in a tough 15-14 battle.
In the foil bracket, Marchovec earned the first championship of his career in dominating fashion, beating No. 3 Duke junior Brycen Rushing 15-4 in the finals.
The Irish women were similarly dominant in the Saturday morning individual competitions. The squad sent seven competitors to the semifinal rounds, and many championship performances followed.
Sophomore Kara Linder went on to face No. 2 sophomore Alex Gorman of Duke in the sabre semifinals, and Linder defended her title, winning by a score of 15-10 and earning her second ACC title in a row.
Sophomore Miriam Grady won a tight final bout against Duke’s sophomore Huda Aldadah in the epee final by a score of 15-13 to join Linder in claiming her second ACC individual title in a row.
The women’s foil individual final featured two members of the Irish squad, as junior Stefani Deschner faced senior Morgan Partridge. Deschner would go on to win the bout 15-12 and claim her first ACC title.
Things were equally as auspicious for the Irish on Sunday as the team play commenced at the ACC Championships.
The No. 5 ranked men’s team got rolling quickly with a decisive 19-8 victory over North Carolina, and it quickly followed with a commanding 18-9 win over Boston College. The Irish then found themselves with a third round matchup against conference rival No. 10 Duke, whom the Irish had beaten 17-10 on Feb. 8 in conference play. The match was close, but the Irish rode a late push to a 16-11 victory and an ACC title.
The No. 3 women’s team kicked off Sunday in similar fashion, beating Boston College 18-9 and moving on to North Carolina, who the Irish handled swiftly, claiming a 22-5 victory. The Irish found themselves with a championship matchup against Duke. Notre Dame jumped out to an early 10-5 lead, and from there, they comfortably claimed a 14-5 victory and an ACC title.
The incredibly dominant weekend performance marked the second season in a row and the second time in program history in which the Irish swept all available ACC titles.