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Women’s fencing beats #8 Penn at Eric Sollee Invite, men’s team struggles

By Jon Ostrowsky

Section: Sports

February 5, 2010

The women’s fencing team beat eighth ranked University of Pennsylvania (Penn) and UAA rival New York University (NYU) on Saturday as part of their 5-0 sweep at the Eric Sollee Invitational in the Gosman Athletic Center.

After losing 5-4 decisions against Penn in the sabre and epee, the Judges won the foil with Vikki Nunley ’13 going 3-0 and Emily Levy ’12 going 2-1.

Commenting on the team’s performance last weekend, head Coach Bill Shipman was especially pleased with their 14-13 win against Penn, the first ever in Brandeis history. “The women achieved higher than their expectations,” Coach Shipman said.

“[Penn] was a big win for us and they beat Air Force and Haverford easily, which you would expect those teams to be a little bit closer to us,” Shipman said.

The Judges, the top team in the UAA, beat their league rival NYU 15-12. Later in the day, they scored 19-8 victories over Haverford and Air Force and beat Hunter 18-9.

“We have pretty good teamwork. I think that as long as we support each other and keep practicing that we should do pretty well,” sabre Kayla Cronin ’11 said.

This weekend the Judges will compete at the Duke Invitational. “If they can beat either Duke or North Carolina or both, that would be a nice win for them,” Coach Shipman told The Hoot.

“Our girls are very strong this year. We have a lot to improve on, but I think we can do it all,” sabre Zoe Messinger ’13 said.

The men’s fencing team was not as fortunate as the women. The Judges struggled, going 1-5 with a 22-5 win against Hunter. In their first match of the day against sixth ranked Penn, the judges lost 17-10 despite a 5-4 victory in the epee, led by Will Bedor’s ‘10 3-0 record.

The judges came into the match with high expectations. They hoped to be competitive against Penn and New York University, and were planning to win against Air Force and Haverford, schools that they lost to 16-11.

“As a team we’re looking to win every single bout and beat every single team here since they’re all Division 1 teams,” Bedor said.

“Individually you want to fence [well], and you don’t want to let the team down because a lot of these teams today are pretty tough for fencing,” epee David Litvak ’11 said.

Coach Shipman expressed disappointment for their loss, explaining that Air Force, and Haverford, and even NYU were all teams that the Judges were hoping to beat.

“The men, they didn’t meet our goals. We thought we could beat Haverford and Air Force for that matter, but our foil guys didn’t fence well, they had a bad day, didn’t stay as tough as we would like,” Shipman said.

“The other weapons, while they fenced pretty well, they couldn’t make up that differential against Air Force and Haverford especially,” Shipman said.

The Judges will face tough competition at this weekend’s Duke Invitational, fencing against top teams such as Penn State and North Carolina, according to Shipman.

“We didn’t reach our team expectations. We’ll just keep plugging away and see what happens next time, but the field at [the] Duke [Invitational] is a little stronger than this one, so it won’t be easy,” Shipman said.

“I think foil, they need to mostly get a little bit mentally tougher, fight harder, and be a little bit more fundamental in their approach. They’re a little too passive right now,” Shipman said.

The Duke Invitational begins Saturday at 8 a.m. in Durham, North Carolina. Both the men’s and women’s teams will be competing.

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