The fencing teams have been busy this past week. The women’s team started off Sunday with a strong showing at the Stevens Tech Invitational while both the men’s and women’s teams hosted Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston College (BC) in the annual Boston Beanpot tournament.
This past Sunday, the women’s fencing team attended the Stevens Tech Invitational with a final score of 4-1, the only loss being to Temple University. They went 17-10 against Stevens, 6-21 against Temple, 14-13 against Johns Hopkins University (JHU), 20-7 against Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) and 20-7 against the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT).
To win a meet, a team must win 14 bouts, which is when two opposing individuals duel each other. There are three kinds of weapons used, and they are used in three different events. Each weapon (event) has different rules, techniques, strategies and skills associated with it. Foil is a weapon with which you can score only with the tip of the blade in a specific target area (torso, front and back; no arms, legs or head). Epee is also a weapon where you can only hit with the point but you can score anywhere on the body. Finally, sabre is a weapon with which you can score using the whole blade (mostly slashing or cutting) targeting the torso, the front and the back, including the arms and head.
Epee fencer Kristin Ha ’14 said, “The women’s team fenced incredibly well last Sunday despite some tough competition, especially against Johns Hopkins and Temple University. Vikki Nunley [’13, a foil fencer] won the decisive bout against JHU for a final and close overall score of 14-13. Additionally, the women’s sabre squad managed to go 9-0 against Fairleigh Dickinson.”
The big event, however, was Wednesday night as Brandeis hosted the annual Boston Beanpot tournament, against Harvard, MIT and Boston College. Brandeis put on a fine performance with both the men’s and women’s final scores being W2-L1.
Epee fencer Harry Kaufer ’13 said, “Alex Powell [’12] fenced great all night. He went 7-1 including a huge win to clinch our victory over Boston College. Carl Goldfarb had a sensational bout against Harvard. He was down 3-0, came back to tie it up 3-3, but then lost on a fluke touch in overtime.” When asked if there were any particularly victorious matches, Kaufer responded, “Boston College was a big win. We lost to them at the conference meet in January, so to beat them tonight was great.”
Epee fencer Powell had a great night, saying, “For myself, my biggest highlights of the night were going 7-1 and defeating a fencer named Michael Raynis from Harvard. Although all my bouts were against good opponents and hard fought, he is a special victory because he is currently ranked number two in the country for U-20 [under the age of 20] fencers and number 10 for senior fencers. He is also ranked in the Top 50 U-20 fencers in the World. He has represented the U.S. as a member of the Cadet [U-17] and Junior [U-20] World Championship teams and competed at the Junior/Cadet World Championships as a result.”
When asked about the success of the Brandeis fencing team as a whole, Powell responded, “I was very proud of the fact that we hung tough with Harvard, even though they beat us, that we beat MIT, and I was very proud of the way we beat BC 14-13, a big rival.” Powell elaborated on the win against BC saying, “We were losing to BC 12-13. The first team to win 14 bouts wins the meet. Julian Cardillo [a first-year foil fencer] tied the meet at 13-13 during his bout, meaning that the next bout would win. My bout was next, and I won that bout to win the meet, which I was proud of both on an individual level and for the team.” Powell also expressed that Cardillo has been performing amazingly this season and is arguably one of the best first-year fencers in the country.
A large number of Brandeis students attended the Beanpot in Gosman to cheer on the team. One spectator, Dan Leisman ’14, said he really enjoyed chanting and cheering on his friends. In fact, fans were so loud that at one point a referee threatened to issue a Level 3 Red Card if they did not calm down, which would require them to leave for the rest of the meet.
“The fans were amazing,” said Powell. “A lot of my friends came out and a lot of friends of other teammates came out and were cheering like crazy, which really fired us up. It definitely fired me up and helped drive me to win. President Lawrence and his chief of staff were also there. It was pretty funny actually, I didn’t notice he was there when I had just won a pretty close bout and immediately walked to the end of the strip, saw him, shook his hand and then shook hands with my opponent.”
The men’s and women’s teams next duel is on Feb. 27 at Mount Holyoke in the New England Championships.