Nov. 14, 2003
EVANSTON, Ill. – The team competition for the Notre Dame fencing program has begun two months earlier than usual, with the men’s squad kicking things off in dominating fashion on Friday at the Northwestern Duals (which traditionally had been held in mid-January). The Irish won 74 of their 81 bouts while posting wins over Johns Hopkins (23-4), Lawrence (26-1) and Northwestern (25-2) – extending the third-longest winning streak in the program’s history to 85 dual matches, dating back to early in the 2000 season.
The Irish men – who combined with the Notre Dame women’s team to win the 2003 NCAA title, just seven months ago – were led by a mixture of returning veterans and talented newcomers. Junior epeeist Michal Sobieraj (the 2003 NCAA runner-up) and senior North Carey both went unbeaten in six bouts while the All-America foil tandem of Forest Walton (5-0) and Derek Snyder (5-1) combined for a 10-1 day.
A pair of new faces combined to win all 15 of their bouts in sabre, with Patrick Ghattas going 7-0 while Matthew Stearns was 7-0. Two other freshmen added strong debuts, with epeeist Aaron Adjemian winning all six of his bouts and foilist Frank Bontempo chipping in an 8-0 record.
The most noteworthy bouts came versus Johns Hopkins and its pair of NCAA Tournament veterans. Sobieraj and Carey both registered 5-4 overtime bouts over Matt Bouloubasis (Sobieraj had “priority” in his bout but Carey would have lost if his overtime ended without a deciding touch) while Adjemian has easier going, posting a 5-2 win over Bouloubasis.
Bontempo (5-3) and Walton (5-2) also picked up wins over JHU foilist Bryan Bishe.
The Notre Dame women take to the strip on Sunday at the Northwestern Duals, with competition beginning at 10:00 a.m. versus Fairleigh Dickinson, Lawrence, Northwestern and Temple. The Irish are led by four All-Americans – two-time NCAA foil champion Alicja Kryczalo, fellow junior Andrea Ament (the ’02 runner-up and third-place finisher in ’03), senior Kerry Walton (the 2002 NCAA epee champ, plus fifth-place in ’03) and senior sabre Destanie Milo (who finished sixth at the ’03 NCAAs).
The women’s squad also has several highly-regarded newcomers, including epeeist Amy Orlando and the sabre duo of Valerie Providenza and Andrea Vincent. Six of the freshmen – Adjemian, Ghattas, Orlando, Providenza, Vincent and sabre Adam Ertur – all are products of the Oregon fencing community, forming a Northwestern pipeline that could help to fortify the Irish program in the bear future.
(Be sure to check back to und.com next week for a complete preview and updated bio’s, as the Irish embark on their 2003-04 season.)