Feb. 7, 2003

The second-ranked Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams (updated national polls expected next week) head to this weekend’s Duke Duals looking to build upon a successful weekend at the Notre Dame Duals, where the Irish men went 8-0 (with a 15-12 win over top-ranked Penn State) to improve to 14-0 while the women went 7-1 (with a win over seventh-ranked Northwestern and the only loss coming to top- ranked Penn State by a score of 16-11) to improve to 13-2. The six-team competition begins at Duke on Friday at with the men’s bouts as the Irish will battle North Carolina (8:00 a.m.), Air Force (9:30), Stanford (11:00), Duke (2:00) and Johns Hopkins (3:30), with Stanford ranked sixth in the men’s USFCA poll and unranked in the women’s poll (the women follow the same schedule on Saturday).

THE LAST TIME ON TOBACCO ROAD: The last time the Irish visited the Duke Duals, the 2001 Notre Dame men emerged victorious over top-ranked Stanford to ascend to the top spot in the polls … once again, the highlight of the Duke Duals looks to be the matchup between the second-ranked Irish (prior to the men’s upset of top-ranked Penn State last Saturday at the Notre Dame Duals) and Stanford … the Cardinal lead ND’s weekend opponents with five fencers returning from the 2002 NCAAs (with the Irish returning 10) … Stanford’s backbone lies in its powerful men’s foil squad, which returns All-Americans Steve Gerberman and Mark Mulholland … in the ’02 NCAAs, Gerberman and Mulholland lost to current ND senior All-American and captain Ozren Debic (Zagreb Croatia) in tight 5-4 bouts but Gerberman edged Debic 15-9 in the semifinals … Gerberman and Mulholland also defeated current ND sophomore All-American Derek Snyder (Chatsworth, Calif.) by 5-4 and 5-3 scores, respectively … Stanford’s men’s epee squad returns NCAA participant Ken Jung, who lost to current ND sophomore All-American Michal Sobieraj (Krakow, Poland) and current All-American senior captain Jan Viviani (Haworth, N.J.) … the Stanford women rely on 2001 NCAA foil champion Iris Zimmerman, who lost in the ’02 NCAAs to current ND sophomore and ’02 NCAA foil champion Alicja Kryczalo (Gdansk, Poland) and her classmate and ’02 NCAA runner-up Andrea Ament (Gates Mill, Ohio) by scores of 5-1 and 5-3 respectively … Stanford also returns All-American sabre Meghan Everett, who defeated current Irish junior captain Destanie Milo (Knox, Ind.) at the ’02 NCAAs.

QUICK REMATCH: The Irish will face Air Force once again this weekend (with the men winning 15-12 and women 21-6 over the Falcons at the Notre Dame Duals) … Air Force is led by epee phenom Seth Kelsey, the three-time All-American who defeated ND’s Jan Viviani and Michaal Sobieraj by 5-4 scores in the Notre Dame Duals (Viviani edged Kelsey 5-4 in the ’02 NCAAs while Sobieraj lost 4-3) … the Air Force women’s squad returns NCAA participants Elia Burrell in epee, and Andrea Rix in sabre … Burrill was defeated by ND All-American senior captain Anna Carnick (Mishawaka, Ind.) by a score of 5-3 in the ND Duals (after defeating Carnick by the same score in the ’02 NCAAs) … Burrill defeated sophomore NCAA champion Kerry Walton (Londonderry, N.H.) by a score of 5-2 in last week’s Duals (avenging a loss at the ’02 NCAAs by the same score) … ND senior and ’00-’01 All-American Meagan Call (Eugene, Ore.) also fell to Burrill last week by a score of 5-3 … Rix’s only loss against the Irish in the Duals came against junior Destanie Milo in a 5-2 bout (with Milo also defeating her 5-4 at the ’02 NCAAs).

THE HOSTS: Duke returns NCAA participants Ben Cohen in men’s sabre and Erin Black in women’s foil … Cohen defeated current ND senior Matt Fabricant by a score of 5-3 in the ’02 NCAAs while Black lost to the ND tandem of Alicja Kryczalo (5-0) and Andrea Ament (5-1).

THE REST OF THE FIELD: Johns Hopkins returns two NCAA participants in Bryan Bishe (men’s foil) and Matthew Bouloubasis (men’s epee) … in the ’02 NCAAs, Bishe lost to current ND senior Ozren Debic by a score of 5-1 while dropping a 5-2 bout to current ND sophomore Derek Snyder … Bouloubasis was defeated by ND’s Jan Viviani in the ’02 NCAAs (5-1) but defeated Sobieraj (5-3) … North Carolina returns one NCAA participant in men’s sabre Wesley Newkirk, who lost to ND’s Matt Fabricant (5-0) in the ’02 NCAAs.

CARDINAL CARDS: The Stanford men already have posted wins this season over UNC (20-7), Duke (18-9), Penn (16-11), St. John’s (14-13), NYU (20-7), Cal State Fullerton (24-3) and UC San Diego (19-8) while losing to Penn State (16-11).