March 26, 2016
By Joanne Norell
WALTHAM, Mass. – With three rounds of men’s pool play in the books, the University of Notre Dame fencing team fell into fourth place Saturday with two rounds remaining at the NCAA Championships at the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center at Brandeis University.
The Notre Dame men went a collective 47-43 Saturday, as the Irish (131 points) went from two points behind first place to 16 points out of the lead, still held by Columbia (147). Meanwhile, Ohio State (134) moved into second place with strong showings in all three weapons, and St. John’s (131) moved into third by one indicator.
Freshman Axel Kiefer led the men’s foil standings for most of the morning, but went 1-3 in the third round to finish 11-4 on the day and will enter Sunday’s final rounds in second place. Teammate sophomore Virgile Collineau went 6-9 through three rounds and resides in 17th place.
Sophomore Jonathan Fitzgerald finished the day in sixth place in men’s sabre, posting a 10-5 record for the second-best Irish mark of the day. Fellow squad member and classmate Jonah Shainberg went 6-9 on the day and sits in 18th place.
The Irish struggled in epee as both senior Garrett McGrath and freshman Darius Zacharakis finished the day with 7-8 records. McGrath, who finished the day in 15th recovered from a 3-8 start to go 4-0 in the third round, while Zacharakis (17th) was 2-2 in both rounds 2 and 3.
The men will complete competition Sunday with the final two round-robin rounds starting at 9 a.m. ET, followed by the semifinals and championships beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET.
The semifinal and championship bouts for each weapon (in the order of epee, foil, sabre) will air without commentary on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN App. The semi-finals and finals, along with other championships highlights, will air on ESPNU at 2:30 p.m. ET on April 6. For more information about the championships, log onto NCAA.com.
NCAA Fencing Championships
March 24-27, 2016
Hosted by Brandeis University
Saturday (Through Round 3 of 5)
2. Axel Kiefer 11-4 (+22)
17. Virgile Collineau 6-9 (-9)
15. Garrett McGrath 7-8 (-2)
17. Darius Zacharakis 7-8 (-7)
6. Jonathan Fitzgerald 10-5 (-1)
18. Jonah Shainberg 6-9 (-6)
Foil (Through Round 5)
3. Sabrina Massialas 20-3 (+61)*
10. Nicole McKee 14-9 (+5)***
 Eleanor Harvey (OSU) def.  Sabrina Massialas (ND) 15-9
T3. Sabrina Massialas
Epee (Through Round 5)
5. Catherine Lee 14-9 (+9)**
14. Madeline Antekeier 11-12 (-1)
Sabre (Through Round 5)
6. Francesca Russo 13-10 (+10)**
12. Tara Hassett 12-11 (-6)***
1. Columbia/Barnard 147
2. Ohio State 134
3. St. John’s 131 (+76)
4. Notre Dame 131 (+75)
5. Princeton 129
*First Team All-American
**Second Team All-American
***Third Team All-American
Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant 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 women’s soccer, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and fencing programs. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.