Feb. 8, 2001
The Notre Dame men's and women's fencing teams will look to continue their recent success this weekend while competing in the six-team Duke Open, to be held Feb. 9-10 at Card Gymnasium on the campus of Duke University.
The second-ranked Notre Dame men (20-0) will look to remain unbeaten on Friday beginning at 8:00 a.m., with bouts versus North Carolina, eighth-ranked Air Force, top-ranked Stanford, Duke and Ohio State. The seventh-ranked Irish women (17-3) then will face the same five teams on Saturday (beginning at 8:00 a.m.), with the top opponents including third-ranked Stanford and 10th-ranked Ohio State.
The Irish men head into the competition riding a 36-match winning streak and-by opening with wins over UNC and Air Force-would post the program's longest winning streak since a 50-match streak from 1990-93.
SCOUTING THE FIELD
- Stanford returns 10 of its 12 fencers who led the Cardinal to a fourth-place finish at the 2000 NCAA combined fencing championship with 163 points (just eight behind Notre Dame and St. John's and 12 back of champion Penn State). Stanford's top returner is men's foilist Felix Reichling, who beat current Notre Dame sophomore Ozren Debic in the 2000 NCAA title bout (15-10), while Alex Wood also returns after placing fifth in the 2000 NCAA foil competition.
- Other top returners for Stanford include men's epeeist Eric Tribett (fifth at 2000 NCAAs), men's sabreman Robert Owens (seventh) and women's foilist Ute Breden (eighth).
- The host Blue Devils return a pair of men's fencers who competed in the 2000 NCAA Championship, in foilist David Bright and sabreman Andrew Mahen (both finished outside the top 20). Duke women's foilist Nyasha London also returns after competing in the 2000 NCAAs.
- Ohio State should be a formidable opponent in men's epee, returning a pair of fencers-Geoff Kane (11th-place) and Alan Jones (16th)-who competed in the 2000 NCAAs. The Buckeye women have one NCAA returner in All-American foilist Fane Groes (she placed seventh at the 2000 NCAAs).
- OSU placed 12th at the 2000 NCAAs, one spot behind North Carolina-which does not return any of its four NCAA competitors from a year ago (most notably the NCAA runner-up at sabre, Kim Treiber).
- Notre Dame and Air Force will meet for the second consecutive week, after the Irish men and women posted a pair of 20-7 wins over the Falcons at the Notre Dame Open. Air Force's top returner is men's foil All-American Seth Kelsey (ninth at 2000 NCAAs) in addition to 2000 NCAA competitors Chris Jones (men's foil) and Elia Burrill (women's epee).
SCOUTING THE IRISH
- The Irish men's epee squad could face the toughest competition of the weekend, with Notre Dame's four-man squad led by sophomore All-American Jan Viviani (30-3 season record, 62-10 for his career), senior Scott Gabler (33-9, 49-11) and junior All-American Brian Casas (31-14, 110-39).
- Debic heads to Duke with a 29-1 season record (69-4 for his career) while junior Steve Mautone (21-8, 100-38) and sophomore Forrest Walton (25-9, 59-16) have turned in solid 2001 seasons to round out the foil squad.
- The Irish men's team has been most dominant in sabre, led by defending NCAA champion Gabor Szelle (27-2, 124-7) and his classmate Andre Crompton (31-5, 96-14), plus senior All-American Andrzej Bednarski (19-3, 112-20) and sophomore Matt Fabricant (32-1, 55-5).
- Sophomore All-American foilist Liza Boutsikaris (44-11, 79-13 career) continues to lead a surging women's foil squad that also includes impressive freshman Maggie Jordan (38-9).
- The Irish will travel just three women's epeeists to the Duke Open, led by sophomore All-Americans Meagan Call (44-11, 81-28) and Anna Carnick (41-15, 78-25) and senior captain Kim DeMaio (29-22, 86-69).
- Notre Dame's deep women's sabre unit is led by senior captain Carianne McCullough (26-4, 68-16) and sophomore All-American Natalia Mazur (28-7,77-11), plus a pair of promising freshmen in Destanie Milo (33-5) and Jessie Filkins (25-6).