Jan. 25, 2014
New York, N.Y. - The University of Notre Dame's fencing team finished the first day of competition in New York on the winning side of three quarters of their team bouts. The Irish men narrowly beat out conference rival Ohio State, 14-13, while the women scored easy wins over Yale, Northwestern and host NYU with matching scores of 19-8.
Both teams competed against Yale to start the morning. In men's epee, sophomore Garrett McGrath went up 2-1, while his 2013 NCAA partner Michael Rossi went 2-0. McGrath continued to dominate the men's epee weapon class throughout the day, never losing more than one bout against any one team to finish 15-3. The epee squad out-dueled Yale 6-3, and went on to beat North Carolina 8-1, St. John's 5-4, NYU 7-2 and Ohio State 5-4.
Freshman Mikail Heber made his debut with the Irish, losing one bout against Yale but quickly recovering, posting a perfect 3-0 mark against North Carolina. He finished the day 4-2. Heber wasn't the only freshman in the epee rotation either; Arthur Le Meur, Conrad Sutter and senior Dale Purdy also contributed points for the Irish.
In men's foil, Gerek Meinhardt demonstrated why he is the No. 1 men's foilist in the world with a 10-2 record on the day. Close behind him were seniors Nick Kubik (9-2) and Ariel DeSmet (8-3). The foil squad won every bout against North Carolina, and were upset only once by Columbia - a heartbreaking, 5-4 loss.
Freshman Kristjan Archer also impressed MFC Varsity Coach of the Year Gia Kvaratskhelia, posting a 7-3 mark in his first NCAA competition. Another international foilist adding depth to the foil squad, Egyptian combatant Hazem Khazbak was 5-5 on the day, blanking Tar Heel opponents and winning 2-1 against NYU.
Moving to men's sabre, 2013 NCAA combatants John Hallsten and Kevin Hassett logged 12-4 and 12-5 marks respectively. The duo posted matching 1-2 round marks against Columbia, and Hassett also out-dueled North Carolina 3-0 and NYU 2-0 (Hallsten was 3-0 against the Tar Heels as well, but only competed in one bout against NYU, winning handily).
In addition to Hallsten and Hassett, student body president Alex Coccia got in on the competition as well, logging a 3-9 mark. Ian Dwyer and Billy Meckling also contributed points for the sabre squad throughout the day.
Changing to the women's team, it was once again women's foil that dominated the competition. The squad had two 9-0 wins against Yale and Northwestern, two 7-2 victories against St. John's and NYU, and a 6-3 title against Ohio State. Their lone loss of the day was against Columbia, where sophomore Olympian Lee Kiefer earned the only two wins of the round.
Kiefer finished the day 10-2, behind junior Madison Zeiss who boasted a 12-4 mark. Zeiss was undefeated against the Bulldogs, Wildcats, Red Storm and Violets combatants. Keifer and Zeiss were joined by Adriana Camacho, who logged a 9-4 record; Sarah Followill, who was 3-1; and Nicole McKee, who saw increased participation in bouts throughout the day, finishing 6-3.
In epee, Ashley Severson earned a 12-5 record, anchoring her squad through several tough bouts. Junior Nicole Ameli was right behind, notching a 9-6 record. Ameli posted a trio of 2-0 rounds against Yale, Northwestern, and NYU; against Ohio State, she was almost undefeated with a 2-1 mark. Catherine Lee and Eva Niklinska also fought for the Irish and added points periodically for a diverse epee squad.
In the last weapon class, women's sabre, it was anyone's game heading into today as to who would step up for the Irish - and Johanna Thill stepped up to the plate. Thill, a 2013 NCAA All-American, had the most wins of any Irish sabreuse with a 12-5 mark. Freshman Allison Barry also contributed several key wins, with a 7-8 record. Junior Mary Regan and walk-on Victoria Sluka rounded out the rotation, with Regan going 6-9 and Sluka logging a 2-2 record. Grace Montemurro saw limited action on the day.
The Irish finish their trip to NY tomorrow at the St. John's Invitational. For full results, go to und.com/fencing.