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Fencing finishes in second at NFC

After both the men’s and women’s teams finished in first place at the first Northeast Fencing Conference (NFC), they looked to continue that success at the second one. The second NFC took place on Jan. 22 at Boston College (BC). 

The men’s team faced BC in round one. It was a tough round that ended very closely. In foil, the team lost 2-7 with both wins coming from first-year Michael Yerokhin ’26. Epee was a different story. Senior Ben Rogak ’23 got the team started with a win and the team added on with a win from senior Josh Shuster ’23.  Sophomore Tal Kronrod ’25 scored the next point for the team before Rogak won one more to tie the match at 4-4. The match was decided by Kronrod, who won to give epee the 5-4 win. Saber was similarly close as first-year Lev BenAvram ’26 led the way with two wins including the match decider. Sophomores Anthony Rabinkov ’25 and Tony Escueta ’25 each had one win to give Brandeis a 5-4 win in saber. Ultimately, though, this was not enough as the men’s team fell to BC 12-15. 

The women’s team also faced BC in the first round. First-year Hannah Du ’26 was excellent for Brandeis in foil. She won two of her three bouts. However, in the end Brandeis lost in foil 3-6. In epee, the Judges started off strong with two consecutive wins coming from senior Monica Aponte ’23 and sophomore Bronwyn Rothman-Hall ’25. Both of them also added another win later to help give the Judges a 5-4 edge in epee. In saber senior Maggie Shealy ’23 got the team started with a win. Sophomore Kayla Turnof ’25 and first-year Kat Xikes ’26 both had a win a piece. Shealy won every single bout and helped lead the Judges to a 5-4 win in saber. This did not end up being enough however, as the women’s team fell to BC 13-14. 

In round two against Tufts University, the men’s team looked to bounce back after their loss to BC. They ended up doing so in a big way. For foil, they won every single bout. Junior Chaemin Daniel Lee ’24, sophomore Quin Smith ’25 and first-year Sam Choun ’26 each won three bouts to give Brandeis the 9-0 win in foil. Epee was much closer. Kronrod continued his strong day with a win in his only bout and sophomore Mark Shamis ’25 had two wins. However, in the end the Judges lost epee 4-5. In saber, junior Nick Quan ’24 won two bouts which led the team. Senior Gabe Lobo-Berg ’23 had the match deciding win as Brandeis won saber 5-4. The men’s team ended up defeating Tufts 18-9 after winning both foil and epee. 

The women’s team started off with a tough battle in foil against Tufts. Senior Sammy Shortall ’23 won two of her three bouts, while Du and sophomore Alex McKee ’25. However, the Judges lost foil 4-5. In epee, the team started with three consecutive bout wins. They then lost three consecutive before senior Paula Thorton ’23 stopped the streak. Rothman-Hall then won the match-deciding bout and gave Brandeis a 5-4 win in epee. Shealy was once again great in saber. She won all three of her bouts and helped lead the Judges to a 6-3 win in saber. The women’s team proceeded to beat Tufts 15-12. 

Round three saw the men’s team win by a large margin against Dartmouth College. They once again won foil 9-0. Epee won 6-3 after sophomore Ethan Hortelano ’25 won all three of his bouts and senior Jalen Kimes ’23 won two. In saber, junior Berwyn Lu ’24 and freshman Seth Edelman ’26 both won all three of their bouts. So, in the end Saber won 7-2. Overall, the men’s team beat Dartmouth 22-5. 

In similar fashion, the women’s team also beat Dartmouth by a large margin. Foil won 7-2 after first-year Rhea Menon ’26 and sophomore Ellen Zhen ’25 each won two bouts. Epee was closer, but sophomore Calla Lee ’25 won the match-deciding set to give Brandeis the 5-4 win. Shealy, Turnof and Xikes won all three of their bouts in saber. The final score between the women’s team and Dartmouth was 21-6. 

The men’s team continued their strong play against Vassar College. Foil resumed their recent success with a 7-2 win. Yerokhin led the way with three bout wins. The Judges started epee with three consecutive wins before three consecutive losses. Shuster and Shamis followed this streak with two consecutive wins to give Brandeis a 5-4 win in epee. Lu and Rabinkov led the way in saber with two bout wins each, as the Judges won saber 6-3. In the end, the men’s team doubled Vassar’s score and won 18-9. 

In their game against Vassar, the women’s team ended up winning by the exact same score, 18-9. The foil group won 9-0 after Shortall, Du and McKee won all three of their bouts. Epee ended up losing 3-6, but saber closed it out with a 6-3 win. Shealy once again won all three of her bouts and Xikes won two of them. 

Round five saw the men’s team face off against Drew University. The Judges ended up winning by a score of 18-9 again. Foil won 7-2 after Yerokhin won all three of his bouts again. Junior Luke Ritchie ’24 also ended up winning all three of his bouts against Drew. Epee was a bit closer, however Rogak won the match deciding set, so Brandeis won 5-4. Saber won 6-3, so the Judges won overall. 

The women’s team did not continue the streak of winning 18-9, but instead won by a larger margin. For the second consecutive game, foil won 9-0. Epee ended up losing 4-5, but that didn’t matter considering Saber won 8-1. Shealy and Xikes won all three of their bouts again and the women’s team won 21-6 overall. 

In the final round, the men’s team played Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Foil and epee were very close. Choun won two of his bouts in foil, but the Judges ended up losing 4-5. In epee, Brandeis lost the first three bouts and won the next four. However, they could not win that fifth bout and lost 4-5. Saber proved to be the difference maker as Lu and BenAvram had two bout wins each and Escueta won all three of his bouts. After a 7-2 win in saber, the men’s team beat MIT 15-12. 

The women’s team had a close foil match to start against MIT as well. Du won two bouts but it wasn’t enough and Brandeis lost 4-5. Epee was tough as the only bout win came from Rothman-Hall. Saber almost brought it back after Shealy and Xikes once again won all three of their bouts to lead to a 7-2 win. In the end the women’s team lost to MIT 12-15. 

Shealy and Xikes led the way for the women’s team at the NFC as they went 18-0 and 14-4 respectively. On the men’s side, four Judges led the way with eight wins. This included Lu, Choun, Yerokhin and Kronrod. Overall, the men’s team went 5-1 and finished in second place, while the women’s team went 4-2 and also finished in second place. 

The women’s team also traveled to Wellesley College on Jan. 24. Shortall and Du led the way in foil, but the team still lost 4-5. In epee, the Judges quickly had three bout wins after Aponte won two and Thornton won one. However from there, the team could not get another bout win and ultimately lost 3-6. Saber had the only match win for the Judges that day. Shealy won all three of her bouts while Xikes won two of hers. Even though the 6-3 win in saber balanced out the 3-6 loss in epee, the Judges were still behind after the loss in foil. Therefore, the women’s team narrowly were defeated by Wellesley 13-14. 

Up next is the Eric Sollee Invitational hosted by MIT. The invitational is on Jan. 29 and is the last event for both the men’s and women’s fencing teams in January.

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