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Men shine while women struggle at Brandeis tournament

By Brian Tabakin

Section: Sports, Top Stories

February 10, 2012

While the men’s fencing team had an outstanding performance this past weekend at the Eric Sollee Invitational at Brandeis University, going 4-1, the women’s team struggled, going just 1-4. The men defeated Haverford (18-9), Hunter (25-2), New York University (17-10) and Johns Hopkins (14-13) with their only loss coming from seventh-ranked Pennsylvania University (6-21). On the women’s side, their sole win was against Hunter (19-8) with losses coming from Haverford (11-16), seventh-ranked Pennsylvania (5-22), Johns Hopkins (8-19) and NYU (7-20). The men’s record improves to 11-8 on the season while the women’s record falls to 9-14.

The most exciting match on the men’s side was their match against Johns Hopkins. After the Judges’ saber squad posted a 7-2 victory behind three wins from Jess Ochs-Willard ’15, the Blue Jays then edged the Judges in foil competition 5-4. Johns Hopkins proceeded to win five of the first six epee bouts to tie the match at 12-12 heading into the final round. Fortunately, the Judges’ epee fencers pulled it out, winning two of the final three bouts. Harry Kaufer ’13 won the first bout 5-0 against Johns Hopkins’ Jay DeYoung to get the Judges 13th point; however, Johns Hopkins’ Baron Redick won the next bout 5-2 against Mike Zook ’13 setting up a decisive final bout between Alex Powell ’12 and Alex Szlgofi of Johns Hopkins. Powell won the bout 5-0 clinching the victory for the Judges.

Against their UAA rival, NYU, the Judges won two out of three weapons, going 7-2 in saber action and 6-3 in foil action to defeat the Violets for the first time since 2007. Ochs-Willard and Adam Mandel ’15 each finished 3-0 in saber competition while Noah Berman ’15 was unbeaten in foil action against NYU. Powell earned two of the Judges’ four points in epee.

Against Haverford, Brandeis won the saber and foil again with 7-2 and 6-3 respectively, while epee took a 5-4 decision. In the rout of Hunter College, saber and foils completed sweeps while the only two losses came in epee action.

In the loss to Penn, Kaufer was the only Judge to register multiple points against the Quakers, finishing 2-1 in epee competition.

On the women’s side, the Judges coasted to victory over Hunter College winning all three weapons. The epee squad had the most decisive win, with Kristen Ha ’14 and Leah Mack ’14 each going 3-0 in an 8-1 victory. Zoe Messinger ’13 and Emmily Smith ’13 each finished 2-0 in saber action. Finally, Hallie Frank ’14 won both of her foil matches.

Aside from their trouncing of Hunter, the Judges only had two other weapon wins in the tournament. In their five-point defeat against Haverford, the sabers went 5-4 with Messinger finishing 3-0 and Smith going 2-1. Mack also registered a few wins in epee action. Additionally, the epee squad won 5-4 against NYU with both Mack and Ha finishing 2-1 and Emily Mandel ’12 getting an additional point in her only bout.

No Brandeis fencer was able to pick up multiple wins in the loss to Penn; however, in the loss to Johns Hopkins, Messinger, Mack and Vikki Nunley ’13, who has been limited in competition due to illness this semester, each finished with two wins.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will return to action this weekend when they travel to Duke University for the Duke Invitational. They will face some of the top-ranked teams in the nation including first-ranked Penn State and the eighth-ranked Duke Blue Devils. Other competitors will include North Carolina, Air Force and Johns Hopkins.

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