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    Fighting Irish
    Notre Dame Wins NCAA Fencing Championship

    Sophomore sabre Valerie Providenza flashed a quick smile (see celebration photo gallery) after her early 5-3 win over Olympian Emily Jacobson but she then quickly snapped back into her game face, en route to a 9-0 Sunday record.

    Freshman sabre Mariel Zagunis (8-1) was one of four Notre Dame fencers to go undefeated or lose just once on the final day of competition at the '05 NCAAs.

    Fifth-year epeeist Kerry Walton shook off a 6-11 start to her NCAA bouts by closing 5-1 to help secure the NCAA title.

    Sunday's middle round featured a blockbuster showdown in women's foil and senior Alicja Kryczalo kicked things off with a rare 1-0 overtime win over OSU rival Hanna Thompson.

    Valerie Providenza pounced on her opposition throughout the 23 round-robin bouts, ultimately finishing second in the standings (19-4) behind teammate Mariel Zagunis (21-2).

    Senior foilist Andrea Ament, who had suffered an ankle injury in Saturday's bouts, battled OSU's Metta Thompson before dropping the 4-3 bout.

    Mariel Zagunis suffered her second and final round-robin loss vs. Olympic teammate Emily Jacobson of Columbia (Zagunis went 0-3 in 2005 college bouts vs. Jacobson but 60-1 vs. all others).

    Alicja Kryczalo's sweep of the lefthahanded Hanna and righthanded Metta (pictured; 5-2) Thompson, plus a win over Princeton standout and two-time NCAA semifinalist Jacqueline Leahy (who beat her at the '03 and '04 NCAAs), helped ND match OSU with a 3-3 record in Sunday's showdown round.

    Andrea Ament finished with a 75-17 career record in NCAA round-robin bouts, good for the third-most NCAA wins ever by an ND women's fencer (behind Alicja Kryczalo's 84 and Sara Walsh's 80).

    Sophomore Amy Orlando's 5-3 win over Penn State's Case Szarwark, who entered the day 4th in the standings, helped send ND to a 6-0 record in its final epee round.

    A 5-1 win over PSU's Szarwark left Kerry Walton (11-12) one win shy of her fourth All-America honor but she helped take home an even better trophy, as part of the team champion for the second time in her career.

    Kerry Walton and Duke's Anne Kercsmar, respectively the '04 NCAA runner-up and 3rd-place finisher, met in the final round, with Walton claiming the key 5-4 win.

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