Nov. 10, 2004
Several Notre Dame fencers recently competed in the Junior World Cup event in Louisville, Ky. (Nov. 5-7), with freshman women’s sabre Mariel Zagunis reprising her victory from earlier in the fall at a World Cup event in Sosnowiec, Poland. Seven other Irish fencers competed in the Louisville event, with sophomore epeeist Amy Orlando (8th), freshman epeeist Greg Howard (9th) and sophomore sabres Valerie Providenza (10th) and Matt Stearns (10th) each posting solid results in their respective events.
Zagunis went 6-0 in her pool bouts and tied with her U.S. Olympic teammate Emily Jacobson for first after the pools, receiving a bye to the round of 32. Her direct elimination bouts included wins over Audrey Barroso (15-6) and Annika Eiremo in a 15-9 quarterfinal. Zagunis then jumped out to a 5-2 lead before beating Catie Thompson in the semifinals (15-6) and owns a 6-1 lead en route to defeating Becca Ward in a 15-9 final.
Thompson and Ward both are products of the Oregon Fencing Alliance, an elite academy that also has produced Zagunis, Providenza and Ghattas.
Most of the top Notre Dame fencers next will face some of the nation’s top fencers at this weekend’s Penn State Max Garrett Open (Nov. 13-14). The annual two-day competition provides the Irish with a significant measuring stick, as they look ahead to a challenging slate of team competitions.
Notre Dame senior foilist and three-time NCAA champion Alicja Kryczalo will be aiming for a rare fourth Penn State Open title, with her previous first-place finishes including wins over her classmate Andrea Ament in the 2001 and ’03 title match (Ament also placed 8th in ’02).
Senior epeeist Michal Sobieraj – the ’03 NCAA runner-up and 3rd-place finisher in ’04 – will be looking to get back in the mix at the Penn State Open, after failing to advance beyond the round of 16 in the fall of ’03 (he was runner-up to teammate Jan Viviani at the ’01 PSU Open and 9th in ’02).
Other veteran Notre Dame women’s fencers who are set to compete at Penn State include sophomore sabres Providenza (3rd) and Angela Vincent (4th), who dropped a 15-10 bout vs. Providenza (the ’04 NCAA champ) in the 3rd-place bout at the ’03 PSU Open.
Members of the Irish men’s team who are slated to return to the PSU Open include: Adjemian (3rd), Stearns (4th), sophomore foilist Frank Bontempo (quarterfinals), sophomore epeeist Patrick Gettings (quarterfinals) and junior sabre Nicolas Diacou (16th in ’02, consolation finalist in ’03).
Ghattas and Orlando did not compete at the ’03 PSU Open due to a Junior World Cup conflict but both are set to compete this weekend.
Notre Dame’s 20-fencer contingent at the ’04 Penn State Open also is to include the following fencers: freshman foilists Quinonez, Jakub Jedrkowiak and Rachel Cota, Howard, sophomore men’s epeeist Jesse Laeuchli, senior sabre John Espinsoa and fifth-year sabre Danielle Davis. Senior foilist Derek Snyder, who continues to rehab from his hand injury, could return to action this weekend (he was 4th at the ’01 PSU Open, then 5th in ’02 and 3rd in ’03).
ND Notes From Previous PSU Opens – Kryczalo finished ahead of Wayne State All-American Inga Wallrabenstein in a 2002 pool of 44 … Kryczalo dispatched of PSU’s Sophia Hiss in the ’03 semifinals (15-1) while Ament posted wins over a pair of All-Americans – PSU’s Anna Donath and Princeton’s Jacqueline Leahy – in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds (she then lost the 15-11 final to Kryczalo) … four months later, Hiss lost to Providenza in the NCAA sabre final … Snyder lost the ’03 semifinal vs. Columbia’s Brian Sohn (14-15) before edging PSU’s Ian Schlaepfer in the 3rd-place bout (15-14) … Adjemian dropped his ’03 semifinal to Wayne State’s Marek Petraszek (10-15) and then knocked off Brian Garrett of Rutgers (15-7) to finish third … is earlier wins included a 15-7 decision over PSU’s Alexander Breuske (round of 16) … Stearns posted a noteworthy win over UNC’s Wes Newkirk in the round-of-16 (15-9) before losing to PSU’s Marten Zagunis (brother of Mariel) in the semifinals (11-15) and Ben Igoe of Rutgers in the 3rd-place bout (9-15) … Bontempo’s final two bouts came vs. ND teammates, besting Forest Walton in the round-of-16 (15-11) before losing to Snyder in the quarterfinals (10-15) … Gettings dropped his quarterfinal bout to RU’s Garrett (11-15) … ND teammate Brian Dosal bested Diacou in the ’03 sabre consolation final (15-8) … Vincent’s wins included a 15-8 decision over Penn’s Casey Frey while Providenza beat ND teammate Natalia Mazur in the quarterfinals.