Patrick Ghattas (left; 3-2) and Matt Stearns (4-1) combined to win seven of their 10 bouts at the NYU Duals vs. fellow top sabre fencers that competed in the 2005 NCAA Championship.

Both Irish Fencing Squads Go 4-1 At NYU Duals, Led By Several Top Individual Results

Jan. 22, 2006

NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams both emerged with a 4-1 record while taking on some of the nation’s top teams on Sunday at the annual NYU Duals, held at the Cole Sports Center. The top-ranked Irish women opened with a 20-7 win over #8 Yale and dropped a 19-8 decision to #3 Columbia before closing with wins over NYU (24-3), #6 St. John’s (16-11) and #4 Ohio State (17-10). The No. 2-ranked ND men won their first four matches – vs. Yale (20-7), #5 Columbia (15-12), NYU (17-10) and #6 SJU (17-10) – but lost to No. 1 OSU in the final matchup of the day (10-17).

Sunday’s bouts brought together Notre Dame’s talented sabre fencers and some of the other top sabreists in all of college fencing. All told, ND’s roster and its five Sunday opponents accounted for one-third (16 of 48) of the sabre fencers who competed at the 2005 NCAAs, with the Irish registering several noteworthy wins in the NYU Duals matchups.

Most notably, junior Matt Stearns went 4-1 in bouts vs. fencers who also competed in the 2005 NCAA sabre competition. Stearns swept Ohio State’s senior duo – besting Olympian Jason Rogers (5-4; repeating his win from the ’05 NCAAs) and two-time NCAA champ Adam Crompton (5-4) – while also besting NYU’s Andrew Magee (5-1) and SJU’s Nijmy Cadet (5-2), with a 5-3 loss to Columbia’s Alex Krul preventing a perfect record for Stearns in the NCAA reunion bouts (Yale’s Christopher Peterson, another ’05 NCAA participant, did not fence vs. the Irish).

Patrick Ghattas joined his ND classmate in posting yet another win over Crompton (5-4), also adding wins over Magee (5-4) and Cadet (5-0) while dropping bouts to Krul (3-5) and Rogers (4-5). Notre Dame freshman Bill Thanhouser, who currently is listed #1 in the USFA under-21 sabre rankings, battled back from a 4-0 deficit to edge Krul while also beating Crompton (5-4) to complete the ND sweep of the three-time All-American.

On the women’s side, sophomore Mariel Zagunis matched Stearns with a 4-1 record in her sabre bouts vs. fencers from the ’05 NCAA field. Zagunis topped OSU’s Siobahn Byrne (the 3rd-place NCAA finisher) in a 5-3 bout while also posting top wins over Columbia three-time All-American Emma Baratta (5-3), SJU All-American Kasia Wieronski (5-1) and Yale’s Carly Guss (5-1). Zagunis compiled a 13-1 record at the NYU Duals and now owns an 88-5 career record in all bouts with the Irish, with four of those losses coming to her U.S. Olympic teammate Emily Jacobson of Columbia. Jacobson reprised her win over Zagunis in the ’05 NCAA title bout by posting a 5-3 win over her national teammate in Sunday’s action.

Junior Valerie Providenza added wins over Baratta (5-3) and Wieronski (5-0) but lost to Guss (3-5), Jacobson (0-5) and Byrne (3-5).

Notre Dame’s four sabre standouts – Ghattas, Stearns, Providenza and Zagunis – combined to go 13-7 in Sunday’s bouts vs. the 2005 NCAA participants (OSU’s Amelia Galliard joined Yale’s Peterson in not fencing vs. the Irish at NYU).

Freshman foilist Adrienne Nott (11-3) joined the four sabre fencers as Notre Dame’s double-digit winners on Sunday, with Stearns going 11-3, Providenza 11-4 and Ghattas 10-3. Other top records for ND fencers at the NYU Duals included the Polish tandem of sophomore foilist Jakub Jedrkowiak and freshman men’s epeeist Karol Kostka (both 9-5) and freshman foilist Mark Kubik (9-6).

Jedrkowiak had one of the more noteworthy wins of the day, besting the 2005 NCAA runner-up Gabe Sinkin of NYU in a 5-2 bout. The ND epeeists also had an impressive sweep of OSU All-American Denis Tolkachev (an NCAA semifinalist in ’04 and ’05), with Kostka winning 5-1, sophomore Greg Howard 5-4 (in OT) and junior Aaron Adjemian 5-4. Nott had her own win over an NCAA semifinalist, topping SJU’s Erzsberet Garay in a 5-3 bout.

Both Irish teams will enter next weekend’s Notre Dame Duals (Jan. 28-29, in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse) with 10-1 records for the 2005-06 season.

Here are additional notes on the head-to-head matchups from Sunday (plus a record book update):

ND-Yale – The other member of the U.S. 2004 Olympic women’s sabre team, Yale sixth-year senior Sada Jacobson (Emily’s sister), did not fence vs. the Irish on Sunday … Jedrkowiak (5-3) and junior Frank Bontempo (5-4) both posted wins over Cory Werk (the ’04 NCAA runner-up), with Kubik dropping a 5-4 bout to Werk … Nott (5-4) and sophomore Melanie Bautista (3-2, OT) both notched wins over NCAA veteran Alisa Mendelsohn but another ’05 NCAA participant, Diane Schawlowski, posted wins over Bautista (5-0) and freshman Emilie Prot (5-2) … freshman Ashley Serrette battled Guss before falling 5-3.

ND-Columbia – The ND men clinched their big win at 14-9, on Howard’s 5-3 bout with Max Czapanskiy … Kubik registered a solid 5-3 win over All-American Scott Sugimoto, who beat Bontempo (5-3) and Jedrkowiak (5-4) … Kostka (5-3) and Adjemian (5-0) both beat NCAA veteran Bill Verigan (Howard nearly completed the sweep but lost 5-4) … Morgan Midgley – who placed third at the ’05 NCAAs – topped ND junior Amy Orlando (5-3) and freshman Madeleine Stephan (5-2) but fifth-year senior Becca Chimahusky edged the All-American in overtime (3-2).

ND-NYU – Kostka turned in a 5-3 win over NCAA veteran Phillip Andrews, who beat Adjemian (5-3) and junior Jesse Laeuchli (5-4) … Bontempo (3-4) nearly matched Jedrkowiak’s upset of Sinkin, who beat Kubik 5-1 … Alexander Kao, another NYU foilist who competed in the ’05 NCAAs, lost to Jedrkowiak (2-5) but beat Kubik (4-3, OT) and Bontempo (5-2) … Thanhouser dropped a 5-2 bout to Magee … NYU’s pair of women’s epee fencers from the ’05 NCAAs also were in action, with Chimahusky and Stephan both posting 5-4 wins over Jean Goto (she beat Marielle Connor in her other bout) while Orlando turned in a strong win over Lauren Willock (5-4), who topped the freshman tandem of Stephan (5-2) and Kim Montoya (5-3).

ND-St. John’s – The ND men clinched their win at 14-9, on a victory by Kubik, while Zagunis clinched for the women (14-10) after a 5-1 bout vs. Wieronski … Howard (5-2) and Kostka (5-4) had strong wins over All-American Benjamin Bratton (the ’04 NCAA runner-up), who beat Adjemian 5-1 … newcomer Luther Clement lost to Stearns (1-5) and Ghattas (0-5) but beat Thanhouser (5-2), who also lost to Cadet (1-5) … SJU’s NCAA veterans in women’s epee went 4-2 vs. the Irish, as Reka Szele lost to Orlando (3-5) but beat Stephan (5-3) and Chimahusky (5-2) while Joanna Guy also lost to Orlando (3-5) and beat Stephan (5-4) and Montoya (4-3) … Garay topped Prot and Bautista (both 5-2) while fellow NCAA veteran Katia Larchanka swept the ND foilists (5-3 vs. Bautista, 5-1 vs. Nott, 5-2 vs. Prot) … Wieronski topped junior Angela Vincent 5-2.

ND-Ohio State – The matchup of the Midwest rivals and top finishers at the ’05 NCAAs produced a win for each team, with both teams totaling 27 total wins … the ND women clinched early (14-7), on Montoya’s 5-1 bout with All-American Kaela Brendler … Stephan also beat Brendler (5-4), who edged Orlando by the same score … Vincent battled Byrne in a 5-3 loss while another OSU sophomore, Eileen Grench (#10) in the USFA rankings) lost to Zagunis (3-5) but beat Providenza (5-1) and Serrette (5-0) … ND cleaned up in the women’s foil bouts (8-1), after the departure of a pair of four-year All-Americans from both teams (ND’s Andrea Ament and Alicja Kryczalo and OSU’s Hanna and Metta Thompson) … All-American Christian Rivera swept the ND epeeists (5-4 vs. Kostka, 5-0 vs. Adjemian, 5-2 vs. junior Patrick Gettings) to counter the Irish wins over Tolkachev … two-time NCAA champ Boaz Ellis posted three 5-0 wins over the ND foilists.

RECORD BOOK UPDATE – Several ND fencers passed the 100-win victory milestone in career regular-season bouts: Bontempo (100-36; 6-9 at NYU, 15-13 in ’05-’06), Ghattas (101-16; 21-5 in ’05-’06) and Orlando (104-37; 7-6 at NYU, 19-9 in ’05-’06), with Chimahusky pushing her mark to 112-50 (7-3 at NYU, 17-7 in ’05-’06) … Stearns (95-24; 19-6 in ’05-’06) also is nearing his 100th win … Providenza (28-5 in ’05-’06) and Zagunis have combined for a 59-6 record (.908) in bouts this season … Jedrkowiak (18-9) now is 65-16 in his ND career … Bautista (8-6 at NYU) now is 69-16 in her career (22-9 in ’05-’06) … Nott (26-4) is one of five ND freshmen who already have totaled 20-plus wins, as are Kostka (24-6), Kubik (23-10), Prot (23-7, 7-7 at NYU) and Thanhouser (21-9; 8-6 at NYU) … Stephan has added 18 wins (18-10; 7-6 at NYU) while Serrette is 17-12 (7-4 at NYU) and Montoya 12-3 (5-2 at NYU) … check back to later in the week for complete updated team stat sheet and match reports.