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Men’s and women’s fencing go 4-2 at Eric Sollee Invitational

A week after a successful day at the Northeast Fencing Conference, the Brandeis men’s and women’s fencing teams traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts for the Eric Sollee Invitational on Jan. 29. The last time these teams competed in this invitational was in 2020, where the men’s team went 3-3 and the women’s team went 4-2. 

The women’s team got the day started with a match against New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). In epee, senior Monica Aponte ’23 got the team’s first point and was followed by a bout win from sophomores Calla Lee ’25 and Bronwyn Rothman-Hall ’25. Aponte added another win and senior Paula Thornton ’23 gave the Judges the last win they needed to win epee 5-4. In foil, the team was led by first-year Hannah Du ’26 who won all three of her bouts. Senior Sammy Shortall ’23 also played well with two bout wins. They led the Judges to a 6-3 win in foil. For saber, senior Maggie Shealy ’23 continued her strong season with three bout wins. This helped the Judges get a 5-4 edge in saber and therefore a 16-11 win overall over NJIT. 

On the men’s side, the team also had a close battle against NJIT. First-year Lev BenAvram ’26 got the team started with an early bout win. He proceeded to win two more sets to win all three of his first sets of the day. Junior Berwyn Lu ’24 similarly won all three of his first sets to help lead saber to a 7-2 win. In foil, senior Jake Hempe ’23 had two bout wins, but it wasn’t enough as the team fell 3-6. Similarly, in epee, sophomore Mark Shamis ’25 won two out of three of his bouts, however the team lost 3-6. Overall, the men’s team narrowly fell to NJIT 13-14. 

Round two for the women’s team saw them face Yeshiva University. In saber, Shealy, sophomore Kayla Turnof ’25 and freshman Kat Xikes ’26 each won all three of their bouts. This pattern continued in foil when Shortall, sophomore Ellen Zhen ’25 and first-year Rhea Menon ’26 all won every bout. This happened one more time in epee, where Thorton, first-year Olivia Bennett ’26 and Lee each won their bouts. Overall, the women’s team won 27-0 against Yeshiva. 

The men’s team similarly played very well against Yeshiva. For saber, Lu, senior Gabe Lobo-Berg ’23 and first-year Seth Edelman ’26 all won their bouts. This happened again for foil. Junior Chaemin Lee ’24, sophomore Quin Smith ’25 and senior Eliot Siegel ’23 each won all of their bouts. Epee finished strong with an 8-1 win. Therefore, the men’s team beat Yeshiva 26-1. 

In the next round, the women’s team continued this momentum against Haverford College. Saber won 8-1 and was followed by a 9-0 sweep in foil. Epee was closer, but the Judges still won 4-3. Bennett and Thornton led the way with two and three bout wins respectively. The women’s team beat Haverford 23-4. 

On the other hand, the men’s team beat Haverford thanks to a strong performance from saber. The saber group won 9-0. Foil started with a two-point lead after bout wins from Siegel and Smith, however they did not win another bout until the last one. So, they lost 3-6. In epee, the team got off to a slow start after losing the first three bouts but came back to lose only 4-5. However, thanks to the big saber win, the men’s team won 16-11 against Haverford. 

For round four, the women’s team faced Stevens Institute of Technology. Shealy led the way in saber after winning all three of her bouts. Xikes and Turnof each won two to give the Judges a 7-2 win. In foil, Du continued her strong day with three bout wins. Sophomore Alex McKee ’25 and Shortall each added two more to give the team another 7-2 win. Epee was led by Rothman-Hall, who won all three of her bouts. They ended up winning epee 6-3 and the women’s team beat Stevens 20-7 overall. 

The men’s team continued this momentum against Stevens with a fast 7-2 start in saber. BenAvram won all three of his bouts for the team. In foil, the Judges once again won 9-0 after Hempe, junior Luke Ritchie ’24 and first-year Michael Yerokhin ’26 all won each of their bouts. The team ended their day against Stevens with a 7-2 win in epee. Shamis and sophomore Tal Kronrod ’25 led the way with two bout wins each. Overall, the men’s team beat Stevens 23-4. 

In round five, the women’s team faced their match of the day against New York University (NYU). Saber was once again led by Shealy, who won all three of her bouts. The team had a three-bout loss streak before Shealy broke it and started a five-bout win streak, so saber won 6-3. The Judges could not get going in foil as Shortall managed the lone bout win. Epee was very close between the two teams. Rothman-Hall had the first bout win and was followed by Aponte. However, they proceeded to lose three consecutive bouts. The team turned it around after the third consecutive loss and ended up winning the last three to give epee a 5-4 win. However, this was not enough as the women’s team lost 12-15 to NYU. 

The men’s team played a just as competitive match against NYU. Saber started out strong with three consecutive wins but was followed by three consecutive losses. However, the group ended with a three-bout winning streak to get a 6-3 win. Foil was a tough battle between the two teams. Ritchie led the way with two bout wins, but the Judges could not get the win and lost 3-6. Then there was epee which was the closest. Shamis and senior Ben Rogak ’23 each had two bout wins to get it to 4-4. It came down to senior Josh Shuster ’23 for the deciding bout. He won the final bout 5-4 as the Judges won epee 5-4. This slight edge gave the men’s team a big 14-13 win over NYU. 

For the final round of the day, the women’s team faced Duke University. Shealy had two bout wins in saber, but it wasn’t enough, and they lost 3-6. Foil also could not get anything going. Shortall won the first bout, but the team had no other wins besides that. They ended up losing 1-8. It was a similar story in epee as Aponte and Rothman-Hall had the lone wins for the team. In the end, the women’s team fell to Duke 6-21. 

Then came the men’s side to face Duke. Saber was very good overall. Lu continued his strong day with two bout wins and sophomore Tony Escueta ’25 had three bout wins. Therefore, saber won 6-3. Foil on the other hand had limited success. Hempe had the team’s lone win as they lost 1-8. Epee was very competitive between the two teams. Shamis had two wins to start, while Rogak added two of his own. In the end this was not enough as they lost 4-5. Overall, the men’s team lost 11-16 to Duke. 

Both the men’s and women’s teams finished 4-2 on the day. Shealy had an incredible day after going 14-1. Xikes also had a strong day with 11 wins and just four losses. On the men’s side, Lu was the team lead in wins with 15, while having three losses. Escueta also had a great day with 10 wins and just two losses. Both teams will next travel to Duke for the Duke Invitational on Feb. 11 and 12. 

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