Junior sabre Valerie Providenza (17-1) was one of five Notre Dame fencers to post double-digit wins and 0-1 losses as both Irish teams swept to 6-0 records at the Northwestern Duals.

Irish Fencing Teams Open With 6-0 Sweeps At The Northwestern Duals

Nov. 20, 2005

EVANSTON, Ill. – The Notre Dame fencing teams once again participated in a fall tournament, with the Irish men and women’s teams both going 6-0 on Sunday, Nov. 20, at the Northwestern Duals. The remainder of the team’s dual-meet schedule will fall in the traditional time during the second semester, with the first national polls expected out shortly after the New Year.

The Irish men – led by three returning All-Americans and two others with NCAA Tournament experience – won 125 of their 162 bouts (77%) on Sunday en route to posting wins over Stanford (15-12), North Carolina (22-5), Johns Hopkins (18-9), Cal State Fullerton (24-3), UC San Diego (21-6) and the host Wildcats (25-2).

The Notre Dame women – who likewise return three All-Americans plus another fencer who has competed in the NCAA Tournament – were more dominant while winning 136 of their bouts (84%), topping JHU by a 26-1 score to go along with 23-4 wins over UNC and Fullerton, a 22-5 margin over Stanford and 21-6 vs. both Northwestern and UCSD.

Sophomore women’s sabre Mariel Zagunis (18-0) and freshman women’s foilist Emilie Prot (16-0) each posted double-digit wins without a loss while another youngster, freshman men’s epeeist Karol Kostka, had an impressive 15-1 debut. Junior Valerie Providenza (17-1) joined Zagunis as part of a strong day from the women’s sabre squad (45-9) but the women’s foilists emerged with the top showing (49-5), including a 15-1 record from freshman Adrienne Nott and 14-3 from sophomore Melanie Bautista.

Other top records at the Northwestern Duals included: sophomore epeeist Greg Howard (13-2), junior sabres Patrick Ghattas (11-2) and Matt Stearns (13-3) and juniors epeeist Aaron Adjemian (14-3) and Amy Orlando (12-3). The men’s epeeists totaled the second-most wins among the six Irish weapons, with Kostka, Howard, Adjemian and junior Jesse Laeuchli (5-1) combining for a 47-7 record.

The day’s most-anticipated matchup was the Notre Dame women vs. the hosts from Northwestern but the Irish quickly claimed a 6-0 lead that included a 5-1 win by freshman epeeist Madeline Stephan over NU veteran Sharon Sullivan and four quick wins in sabre (two by Providenza and one each from Zagunis and freshman Ashley Serrette).

The Wildcats have added one of the nation’s most sought-after women’s foilists, Samantha Nemecek, but the Notre Dame contingent impressively swept the highly-regarded newcomer. Nott’s 5-2 win over Nemecek produced a 7-1 lead for the Irish women and Prot later added a 5-4 win before Bautista topped Nemecek in a 3-2 overtime battle (Nemecek had “priority” and would have won if the OT ended without a touch).

The women’s foilists also took two bouts from All-American Jessica Florendo, as Bautista’s 5-4 win yielded an 11-2 lead while Prot added an easy 5-1 win over Florendo. Freshman epeeist Kimberlee Montoya’s 7-1 record on Sunday included a 5-4 win over Sullivan in the sudden-death overtime.

The Notre Dame men’s win over Stanford included a 3-0 record from Howard, plus 2-1 from Ghattas, Stearns, freshman sabre Bill Thanhouser (13-3 overall) and freshman foilist Mark Kubik (14-4 overall).

Stanford’s more noteworthy veterans include foilist Steve Gerberman, sabre Curtis Andrus and epeeist Martin Lee. Those three fencers combined to go 7-2 vs. the Irish but Ghattas beat Andrus mid-match (5-3) for a 6-5 Irish lead and Kostka added a key 5-3 win over Lee moments later for an 8-5 cushion. Adjemian lost an overtime bout to Lee (3-4) that cut ND’s lead to 11-9 but he later secured the clinching win, 5-1 over Sergey Levine (14-11).

RECORD BOOK UPDATE – Providenza pushed her career regular-season record to 103-16, the 5th-most wins in ND women’s sabre history and a .866 career win pct. that ranks 12th all-time among all ND women’s fencers (2nd among women’s sabres) … Zagunis now has dominated college fencing to the tune of a 47-1 record in regular-season bouts (.979), putting her on pace to challenge the ND record for career win pct. (.980, by foilist Maria Panyi who went 146-3 from ’94-’95) … Bautista’s .859 career win pct. (61-10) ranks 15th in the ND record book (among all women’s fencers) … Orlando still ranks 6th in career women’s epee win pct. (.789, 97-26) … 5th-year senior Becca Chimahusky went 10-4 on Sunday, pushing her career record over 100 wins (105-47) … Ghattas (91-13/.875), Stearns (84-21) and junior foilist Frank Bontempo (9-4 on Sunday; 94-34) also are nearing their 100th career wins … Jedrkowiak is 56-11 with the Irish while Howard now owns a 49-10 career record.