March 25, 2004

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Notre Dame women’s fencing team lived up to its top ranking by claiming Thursday’s day-one lead at the NCAA Combined Fencing Championhips. The four-day event continues at Brandeis University’s Gosman Center with Friday’s final nine bouts for each women’s entrant, with the men slated to fence on Saturday and Sunday before the team champion is decided.

Notre Dame leads Midwest rival Ohio State atop the team standings (63-59), followed by Penn State (48) and the University of Pennsylvania (43). The strong first-day performance for the Irish is particularly noteworthy after facing Ohio State and Penn State in each of the three weapons on Thursday (ND went 8-4 vs. OSU, 7-5 vs. PSU).

Notre Dame qualified just five fencers for the men’s events (compared to the maximum six for both OSU and PSU) and thus the Irish wll be hoping to add to their cushion in Friday’s action.

Five Notre Dame fencers currently sit among the top four in their respective weapons, putting them in range of qualifying for Friday’s semifinals (to be held after the team competition).

Junior foilist Alicja Kry czalo is on her way to capturing a rare third straight NCAA title, finishing the first day with a 13-1 mark. Freshman sabre Valerie Providenza had an impressive NCAA debut and is tied for first (12-2) while senior epeeist Kerry Walton owns the same record in the quest to regain the title she won in 2002 (she currently is alone in second).

Junior foilist Andrea Ament (11-3, tied for third) and freshman epeeist Amy Orlando (9-5, tied for fourth) also have strong shots at making the individual semifinals. Ament was the 2002 runner-up (behind Kryczalo) before placing third in ’03.

Details from Thursday’s bouts are included below, as are notes on Friday’s schedule:

Foil – Kryczalo improved to 59-5 in career NCAA Tournament bouts and now is +191 in total-point indicators, spanning 60 ound-robin bouts (+40 on Thursday) … Ament (+25/+158 career) puhed her NCAA career record to 54-10 (including semi/final/third-place bouts) … OSU’s Hannah Thompson (12-2, +36) stands in second while Ament is tied with Princeton’s Jacqueline Leahy (+29) and Stanford’s Eva Petschnigg (+20) for third … noteworthy wins for Kryczalo came vs. Ament (5-0), OSU twins Metta (5-4, OT) and Hannah (5-2) Thompson, PSU’s Meredith Chin (5-4, after giving up 3-0 lead) and Anna Donath (5-0) and the St. John’s duo of Amy Delahanty (5-3) and Erzsebet Garay (5-1) … her loss came to Penn’s Emanuelle Humblet (3-5) … Ament split with the Thompsons (5-2 vs. Hannah, 3-5 vs. Metta) and with the PSU duo (scored final points for 5-4 win over Chin, lost to Donath 2-5) before sweeping SJU (5-1 vs. Delahanty, 5-3 vs. Garay) … ND and OSU both have bouts left vs. Columbia/Barnard’s Cassidy Luitjen (currently 8th) , M.I.T.’s Susannah Dorfman (22nd) and Harvard’s Anne Austin (23rd) … ND’s Friday opponents include five others who are in line for All-America (top 12): Leahy (also will face her teammate Sara Jew-Lim, now 21st), Petschnigg, NU’s Julia Foldi (10th) and Jessica Florendo (12th) and Harvard’s Chloe Stineorf (11th) .. OSU still must face Chin (7th) and Donath (9), Penn’s Humblet (13th) and Christina Kaneshige (17th), Temple’s Jenna Remmert (18th) and C/B’s Kathleen Reckling (19th).

Epee – Walton now is 47-15 overall in her career at the NCAAs (+91; +25 in ’04) … Wayne State’s Anna Garina (13-1, +36) leads the epee field while Duke’s Anne Kercsmar is third (10-4, +19) … Orlando is one of seven tied at 9-5, as are OSU’s Alexandra Shklar (+15) and Kaela Brendler (+9), Cornell’s Meghan Phair (+13) and defending champ Katarzyna Trzopek of PSU (+9) … Walton’s wins include bouts vs. Orlando (5-3), Northwestern’s Sharron Sullivan (5-1), Shklar (5-3) and Brendler (5-3) plus a key sweep of PSU’s Trzopek (tied it with 0:15 left, then won in OT, 2-1) and Case Szarwak (5-4, OT) … Orlando beat her former club teammate Sullivan (5-4, OT), split a pair of 5-4 bouts with Shklar (win) and Brendler (loss) before adding a 5-1 win over Szarwak … ND and OSU have six common opponents on Friday: Duke’s Kercsmar, Yale’s Erica Korb (9th), Brown’s Ruth Schneider (10th), Princeton’s Erin McGarry (12th), Jessic Lewis-Turner of host Brandeis (13th) and C/B’s Alexie Rubin (18th) … ND also is set to face Garina, her WSU teammate Anna Vinnikov (22nd) and Cal Tech’s Katherine Harvard (24th) on Friday while PSU will round out its schedule vs. Cornell’s Phair, Harvard’s Jasmine McGlade (14th) and M.I.T.’s Lucy Mendel (23rd).

Sabre – Providenza (+35) shares the day-one lead with C/B’s Emma Baratta (+43) and OSU’s Louise Bond-Williams (+40) … Providenza’s top wins came vs. Penn’s Katelyn Sherry and Annika Eiremo (both 5-4), PSU veteran Heather Brosnan (5-1), and Bond-Williams (5-1) and her OSU teammate Marguerite Plekhanov (5-3) … her only loss was 5-1 vs. PSU’s Sophe Hiss.