Jan. 30, 2016
Northwestern Duals Gallery
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams put on impressive showings Saturday during the first day of the Northwestern Duals at the Castellan Family Fencing Center. The No. 2 Irish men went 5-1, including 3-1 against top 10 foes, while the second-ranked Irish women posted a 6-0 record and defeated three ranked opponents.
“This was another step in getting ready for NCAAs and ACCs,” head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia said. “We felt like everyone performed well – there’s a lot of room for improvement – but we really liked the attitude of the kids and the way they competed.”
Wins over Ohio State highlighted the day, with the men (22-2) defeating the No. 7 Buckeyes 15-12, and the women (24-0) prevailing 15-12 against the sixth-ranked counterpart. The women also pulled out a 14-13 win over No. 3 Princeton and defeated No. 8 Penn 24-3. The men defeated No. 8 Princeton 19-8 and No. 10 Stanford 18-9, but fell to No. 3 Penn in a heartbreaker 14-13.
“I was very happy with the match-up with Ohio State on both sides and our [women’s] match with Princeton, and the more the day progressed, the better we got,” Kvaratskhelia said. “We had one hiccup against UPenn [on the men’s side], but it’s easily correctable. I feel really good about how both men and women competed against top-tier teams. We’re there and our strength was shown today.”
The Irish men led off the day against the Cardinal, with the Irish sabreurs notching a 9-0 win, while Notre Dame recorded a 6-3 edge in foil. Stanford prevailed 6-3 in epee.
In the second round, the Irish faced Penn on both sides, with the women defeating the No. 9 Quakers 24-3, while the men fell in a close 14-13 decision against the nation’s No. 3 team. On the women’s side, the Irish went 9-0 in epee, 8-1 in foil and 7-2 in sabre. Sabreuses Francesca Russo and Tara Hassett, foilists Sabrina Massialas and Nicole McKee, and epeeist Catherine Lee all went 3-0 against the Quakers, while epeeists Madeline Antekeier and Molly Hudson turned in 2-0 records. The men, who at once led 13-9, dropped five straight bouts as the Quakers took their second win of the season against the Irish. Notre Dame prevailed 5-4 in foil, but dropped close 4-5 decisions in epee and sabre.
In round three, the Irish men made quick work of UC San Diego, winning 23-4, going 9-0 in both epee and sabre. Dylan French went 3-0 in epee, while Nick Hanahan (epee), Garrett McGrath (epee), Kristjan Archer (foil), John Hallsten (sabre) and Jonah Shainberg (sabre) all went 2-0.
In the same round, the Notre Dame women went back and forth with No. 3 Princeton for the closest decision of the day, winning in the final bout 14-13. The Tigers edged the Irish 5-4 in sabre despite Russo’s 3-0 mark, but the Irish dominated the foil bouts 8-1 (Massialas 3-0, McKee 3-0). The match came down to the final epee bout, which senior Catherine Lee clinched, though Princeton went 7-2 in the category.
With a bye for the women in round four, the men faced Air Force, defeating the Falcons 20-7. Archer, French, McGrath and Hallsten each went 3-0 in the match.
Both Irish teams took on Ohio State in the marquee match-up after lunch, with close scores marking each. The Irish women defeated the No. 6 Buckeyes 15-12, highlighted by a 9-0 showing in sabre, with Russo, Hassett and Claudia Kulmacz each winning three bouts. The men went back and forth with the Buckeyes and stood knotted at 12 with one round of sabre bouts remaining, and the Irish swept through the final three bouts, clinching on Hallsten’s first win of the match. Jonathan Fitzgerald went 3-0 for the Irish in sabre, while Virgile Collineau posted a 3-0 mark in foil to help lift the Irish.
The Irish women went on to defeat Fairleigh Dickenson 19-8 in the seventh round, while the men enjoyed a bye. In the eighth, the Irish beat Stanford’s women 19-8, while the men upended No. 8 Princeton by the same score to end their day. The Irish men prevailed in foil, 7-2, and sabre, 8-1, to provide the margin, while the Tigers edged the Irish in epee, 5-4. John Crumpler and Archer went 3-0 against the Tigers in foil, while Shainberg was 3-0 in sabre.
Notre Dame’s women concluded the day against Cal Tech, winning 25-2.
Kvaratskhelia singled out Russo, who went 10-0 on the day, as the top women’s performer, while praising Fitzgerald (13-4) and Collineau (9-4) for their 3-0 performances against Ohio State.
The Irish will return to action Sunday with the concluding eight rounds of fencing. Among Sunday’s Irish opponents are No. 5 Northwestern, No. 9 Penn State and No. 10 Temple on the women’s side and No. 4 Penn State on the men’s side. Fencing will commence at 8 a.m. ET and a live results link will be posted when it becomes available.
Castellan Family Fencing Center
Notre Dame, Ind.
No. 2 Notre Dame 18, No. 10 Stanford 9
No. 3 Penn 14, No. 2 Notre Dame 13
No. 2 Notre Dame 23, UC San Diego 4
No. 2 Notre Dame 20, Air Force 7
No. 2 Notre Dame 15, No. 7 Ohio State 12
No. 2 Notre Dame 19, No. 8 Princeton 8
No. 2 Notre Dame 24, No. 8 Penn 3
No. 2 Notre Dame 14, No. 3 Princeton 13
No. 2 Notre Dame 15, No. 6 Ohio State 12
No. 2 Notre Dame 19, Fairleigh Dickenson 8
No. 2 Notre Dame 19, Stanford 8
No. 2 Notre Dame 25, Cal Tech 2
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.