NOTRE DAME, Ind. — For the second season in a row and the second time in program history, the University of Notre Dame fencing program swept all available Atlantic Coast Conference titles as the fifth-ranked Irish men and the No. 3 Irish women each snagged their fifth ACC team championship in six seasons Sunday at the Castellan Family Fencing Center on Notre Dame’s campus.
Both the Irish men and women went 3-0 on the day, defeating Boston College, North Carolina and Duke in the round-robin format.
Following the conclusion of the team tournaments, the ACC recognized freshman foilist Marcello Olivares and sophomore epeeist Miriam Grady as the tournament’s Most Valuable Fencers, making it back-to-back seasons that the Irish boast both men’s and women’s MVPs.
The Irish men opened the team competition by defeating North Carolina 19-8, including an 8-1 record in epee. In the match, Notre Dame saw 3-0 performances from Darius Zacharakis and Harrison Kimatian in epee; Joey Marino and Marcello Olivares in foil; and Malcolm Fields in sabre.
They followed it up with an 18-9 victory over Boston College led by 3-0 marks from Zacharakis in epee and Jared Smith in sabre.
The marquee matchup of the day came in the third round against No. 10 Duke, which the Irish had defeated 17-10 in their last regular-season outing at the Duke Duals on Feb. 8. This time, the match stayed tight at the beginning as the Irish led just 8-7 through 15 bouts. However, a late surge propelled Notre Dame to a 16-11 victory and another ACC title. Andrew Machovec, yesterday’s individual foil champion, scored the clinching touch for the Irish.
Olivares led the team with an 8-1 record through the team competition, helping him earn Most Valuable Fencer on the men’s side.
The Irish women kicked off the afternoon session with a 19-8 victory over Boston College, with the foil squad sweeping the Eagles 9-0 in the match. Four Irish fencers went 3-0 — Samantha Viqueira, Morgan Partridge and Isabelle Elizondo in foil, and Regina O’Brien in sabre.
They then defeated North Carolina 22-5 in the second round, dropping just one in epee and two in foil and sabre. Miriam Grady (epee) and Kara Linder (sabre), two of Notre Dame’s individual champions from yesterday, went 3-0 against the Tar Heels, as did Dasha Yefremenko in epee, Partridge in foil and Reghan Ward in sabre.
The Irish entered the final match against Duke as the only remaining undefeated team in the competition, needing just one more win to clinch the championship. The women remained consistent, jumping out to an early 10-5 lead and then finishing off the Blue Devils by a score of 18-9 to capture the team title. Regina O’Brien clinched the championship by winning her bout to put the Irish up 14-5.
Viqueira and Stefani Deschner in foil, Grady in epee and Ward in sabre each went 3-0 in the match against Duke.
Grady was named Most Valuable Fencer on the women’s side after leading the team with a record of 8-1 on Sunday to follow up the individual epee title she claimed on Saturday.
WHAT THEY SAID
Head Coach Gia Kvaratskhelia
On fencing at home in the ACC Championships…
“It’s twice as hard. You don’t want to fail with a loss, and then in front of the home crowd. But again, this is very special for us.”
On what he learned about his men’s team today…
“The most important factor for us winning today was the consistency with all the weapons together. We’ve been pitching from the beginning of the year that everyone has to contribute equally and then we have a shot at success at any level, and they proved it today.”
On his message to the team moving forward to the NCAA Regionals…
“The consistency, the toughness, the resilience. Nothing technical or tactical because we work so hard it’s become mental. And if we overcome those obstacles and hold ourselves accountable to those standards, we have a shot for success.”
ACC Fencing Championships
February 22-23, 2020
Castellan Family Fencing Center
Notre Dame, Ind.
Men’s Team Championships
No. 5 Notre Dame 19, North Carolina 8
Epee (8-1): Darius Zacharakis 3-0, Harrison Kimatian 3-0, Joshua Zhang 2-1
Foil (6-3): Joey Marino 3-0, Marcello Olivares 3-0, Matthew Tichacek 0-3
Sabre (5-4): Malcolm Fields 3-0, Jared Smith 1-2, Guram Lortkipanidze 1-2
No. 5 Notre Dame 18, Boston College 9
Epee (6-3): Darius Zacharakis 3-0, Valentin Matveev 2-1, Harrison Kimatian 1-2
Foil (6-3): Joey Marino 2-1, Marcello Olivares 2-1, Andrew Machovec 2-1
Sabre (6-3): Jared Smith 3-0, Malcolm Fields 2-1, Guram Lortkipanidze 1-2
No. 5 Notre Dame 16, No. 10 Duke 11
Epee (3-6): Darius Zacharakis 1-2, Harrison Kimatian 1-2, Valentin Matveev 1-2
Foil (7-2): Marcello Olivares 3-0, Joey Marino 2-1, Andrew Machovec 2-1
Sabre (6-3): Jared Smith 3-0, Alessandro Contreras 2-1, Malcolm Fields 1-2
Women’s Team Championship
No. 3 Notre Dame 19, Boston College 8
Epee (5-4): Miriam Grady 2-1, Julia Barry 2-1, Dasha Yefremenko 1-2
Foil (9-0): Samantha Viqueira 3-0, Morgan Partridge 3-0, Isabelle Elizondo 3-0
Sabre (5-4): Regina O’Brien 3-0, Natalie Disher 1-2, Reghan Ward 1-2
No. 3 Notre Dame 22, North Carolina 5
Epee (8-1): Miriam Grady 3-0, Dasha Yefremenko 3-0, Julia Barry 2-1
Foil (7-2): Morgan Partridge 3-0, Stefani Deschner 2-1, Isabelle Elizondo 2-1
Sabre (7-2): Kara Linder 3-0, Reghan Ward 3-0, Regina O’Brien 1-2
No. 3 Notre Dame 18, Duke 9
Epee (4-5): Miriam Grady 3-0, Amanda Sirico 1-1, Julia Barry 0-1, Dasha Yefremenko 0-1
Foil (7-2): Samantha Viqueira 3-0, Stefani Deschner 3-0, Morgan Partridge 1-2
Sabre (7-2): Reghan Ward 3-0, Kara Linder 2-1, Regina O’Brien 2-1
The Irish will return to action at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on March 7 at the University of Detroit Mercy. Then, the Irish will look to qualify the maximum 12 fencers for the 2019 National Collegiate Fencing Championships also in Detroit.
— ND —