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Irish Claim Seven of Eight ACC Fencing Awards

NOTRE DAME, Indiana — The University of Notre Dame fencing team cleaned up in the ACC fencing awards as the conference announced Thursday morning. The Irish took home five of the six discipline awards and head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia garnered Men’s Coach of the Year honors and Women’s Co-Coach of the year honors.

It is the fourth time Kvaratskhelia has won both the men’s honor (2015, 2016, 2019-20) and the women’s honor (2016, 2017, 2019-20).

ACC gold medalist and NCAA qualifier Andrew Machovec was named the ACC Fencer of the Year for Men’s Foil while reigning ACC champion and fellow NCAA qualifier Alessandro Contreras was named Fencer of the Year for Men’s Sabre. Back-to-back ACC champion Kara Linder was tabbed as the Fencer of the Year for Women’s Sabre for the second straight year, while fellow sophomore and back-to-back ACC Champion Miriam Grady earned Fencer of the Year for Women’s Epee. ACC Champion junior Stefani Deschner earned Fencer of the Year for Women’s Foil to round out the group. All five Irish athletes qualified for the NCAA Championship.

Linder adds her second consecutive ACC Sabre Fencer of the Year award after an impressive beginning to her Irish career. Linder finished the regular season with a 52-19 record and earned the top seed in the ACC Championship. She breezed through the semifinals and finals, winning 15-8 and 15-9, respectively to earn her second straight championship. At Midwest Regionals Linder was almost unbeatable and finished with a 15-1 record to claim the regional title to earth a berth to the NCAA Championship for the second straight year.

Grady earned her first ACC Fencer of the Year honor this season after a strong regular season record of 52-25. Grady earned the three-seed at ACC’s and knocked off No. 2 seed and teammate Dash Yefremenko in the semifinals. In the finals, Grady upset No. 1 seed Huda Aldadah 15-13 to win her second straight title. In the team championship, Grady went 8-1 to earn the ACC Women’s Most Valuable Fencer honor en route to the women’s team championship for the Irish. Grady followed it up with a Midwest Regional Epee Championship in Detroit after finishing with a 12-4 record to claim her second-straight berth to the NCAA Championships.

Deschner had a breakout season in her junior campaign, finishing the regular season with a 36-13 record. She earned the top seed at the ACC’s and defeated teammate Morgan Partridge 15-12 in the finals for her first career ACC Foil Championship. At regionals, Deschner finished third after going 12-4 on the day. Deschner earned her first career berth to the NCAA Championship after receiving an at-large selection.

Contreras finished his sophomore season with a 20-6 record and earned the four-seed in an all-Irish semi finals for men’s sabre at ACC’s. Contreras bested George Bivins 15-13 in the semifinals and then beat Jared Smith 15-11 to claim his first ever ACC Championship. Contreras finished sixth at regionals but earned an at-large selection for his second consecutive trip to the NCAA Championship.

Fellow sophomore Machovec split time between the Team USA and the Irish during the season but finished with a 18-3 record in collegiate competitions. Machovec earned the top-seed at ACC’s and easily won his first career ACC Foil Championship. Machovec defeated teammate Joseph Marino 15-6 in the semifinals and defeated Duke’s Brycen Rushing 15-4 in the finals. At Regionals, Machovec finished second after amassing a 12-2 record. He earned the at-large selection for the NCAA Championship, the first NCAA berth of his career.