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Irish Fencers Find Success At St. John's Invitational

Jan. 20, 2018

By Joanne Norell

QUEENS, N.Y. – The top-ranked University of Notre Dame fencing teams met a quartet of elite opponents Saturday at the St. John’s Fencing Invitational, held at Taffner Field House. The No. 1 Irish women remained undefeated on the season – including over second-ranked Columbia – while the men finished the day at 2-2.

How It Happened


The teams opened the day against second-ranked Columbia, setting the tone for the level of competition the Irish would face all day. And while the top-ranked Irish women’s squad defeated the Lions 14-13, the men’s team found itself on the short end of the same score.

The women were led by 2-1 performances by Amanda Sirico (epee), Julia Barry (epee), Elyssa Kleiner (foil), Tara Hasset (sabre) and Francesca Russo (sabre). The men got 3-0 performances from Jonathan Fitzgerald (sabre) and Arsenii Panteleev (sabre), as well as 2-1 showings by Dylan French (epee) and Stephen Ewart (epee), but the effort fell just short.

Penn State

The Irish women turned in their second 14-13 victory of the day over the No. 4 Nittany Lions, while the men found some breathing room with a 15-12 victory against the No. 3 PSU men.

Kleiner and Stefani Deschner (foil) each went 3-0 for the women’s squad, while Reghan Ward (sabre) went 2-0 and Hassett and Russo went 2-1. For the men, Fitzgerald was a perfect 3-0 again, while Ariel Simmons (epee) also registered a 3-0 performance.


The women’s team remained undefeated with an 18-9 victory over No. 6 Harvard. The men, however, lost their second match of the day, 15-12 to the No. 5 Crimson men.

Finnula Mageras (foil), Samantha Viqueira (foil) and Ward each went 3-0 in their respective weapons to help the Irish defeat the Crimson. Sirico, Barry, Russo and Sabrina Massialas (foil) each went 2-1 in the match. On the men’s side, Nick Itkin (foil) posted a 3-0 mark, and French and Jonah Shainberg (sabre) were 2-1 each.

St. John’s

The women rolled in a 17-10 victory over the 10th-ranked Red Storm, while the men eked out a 14-13 decision over the No. 8 host.

Four Irish women went undefeated against St. John’s, as the women’s foil squad of Massialas, Isabelle Elizondo and Erica Tsai was unbeaten. Russo was also 3-0 in the match. Sirico and Barry each went 2-1 in epee. For the men, Michael Antipas went 2-0, while Ewart and Simmons each went 2-1.

Ohio State

The Irish were initially scheduled to cap the day against Ohio State, but the final match was cancelled.

Up Next

The Irish will wrap up the weekend Sunday at the Philadelphia Invitational with another day of elite competition. Competition will begin at 8 a.m. ET at the Tse Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

St. John’s Invitational
Taffner Field House
Queens, N.Y.
Jan. 20, 2018
Men’s Results
No. 2 Columbia 14, No. 1 Notre Dame 13
Epee: Dylan French 2-1, Stephen Ewart 2-1, Ariel Simmons 1-2
Foil: Nick Itkin 1-2, Axel Kiefer 0-3, Hazem Khazbak 0-3
Sabre: Jonathan Fitzgerald 3-0, Arsenii Panteleev 3-0, Jonah Shainberg 1-2
No. 1 Notre Dame 15, No. 4 Penn State 12
Epee: Simmons 3-0, French 1-2, Ewart 1-1, Nicholas Hanahan 0-1
Foil: Itkin 1-2, Kiefer 1-2, Khazbak 1-2
Sabre: Fitzgerald 3-0, Shainberg 2-1, Panteleev 1-2
No. 5 Harvard 15, No. 1 Notre Dame 12
Epee: French 2-1, Ewart 1-2, Simmons 1-2
Foil: Itkin 3-0, Kiefer 1-2, Michael Antipas 0-2, Joseph Marino 0-1
Sabre: Shainberg 2-1, Fitzgerald 1-2, Panteleev 1-2
No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 8 St. John’s
Epee: Ewart 2-1, Simmons 2-1, French 1-1, Zachary Zeller 1-0
Foil: Michael Antipas 2-0, Marino 1-1, Itkin 1-0, Khazbak 1-0, Kiefer 0-1, Bobby Wong 0-2
Sabre: Fitzgerald 1-2, Panteleev 1-2, Shainberg 1-2

Women’s Results
No. 1 Notre Dame 14, No. 2 Columbia 13
Epee: Amanda Sirico 2-1, Julia Barry 2-1, Marie-Anne Roche 1-2
Foil: Elyssa Kleiner 2-1, Morgan Partridge 1-2, Samantha Viqueira 1-2
Sabre: Tara Hassett 2-1, Francesca Russo 2-1, Claudia Kulmacz 1-2
No. 1 Notre Dame 14, #3 Penn State 13
Epee: Barry 1-2, Sirico 1-2, Roche 0-3
Foil: Kleiner 3-0, Deschner 3-0, Partridge 0-3
Sabre: Reghan Ward 2-0, Russo 2-1, Hassett 2-1, Kulmacz 0-1
No. 1 Notre Dame 18, No. 6 Harvard 9
Epee: Sirico 2-1, Barry 2-1, Roche 0-2, Katherine Wallace 0-1
Foil: Finnula Mageras 3-0, Samantha Viqueira 3-0, Sabrina Massialas 2-1
Sabre: Ward 3-0, Russo 2-1, Regina O’Brien 1-1, Hasset 0-1
No. 1 Notre Dame 17, No. 10 St. John’s 10
Epee: Sirico 2-1, Barry 2-1, Roche 0-3
Foil: Massialas 3-0, Isabelle Elizondo 3-0, Erica Tsai 3-0
Sabre: Russo 3-0, Ward 1-2, Hassett 0-2, Kulmacz 0-1


Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame men’s tennis and fencing programs, in addition to assisting with football communications and overseeing production of the football Gameday Magazine. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.