Jan. 23, 2005
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The second-ranked Notre Dame women’s fencing team opened its season Sunday by going 2-2 at the NYU Duals while the fourth-ranked Irish men won three times and lost to top-ranked Ohio State (16-11). The women saw their 41-match winning streak – just one shy of matching the second-longest in the program’s history – come to an end in a 16-11 match with 5th-ranked Columbia before losing to the top-ranked Buckeyes in a thriller that came down to the final bout (14-13).
Both Notre Dame teams posted wins over host NYU (men 17-10, women 22-5) and Stanford (men 19-8, women 24-3) while the Irish men registered a 16-11 win over 5th-ranked Columbia. St. John’s and Yale did not compete in the event due to weather and travel complications (the SJU men are ranked 3rd and the women 7th).
Notre Dame’s top competitors included four veterans and newcomer Mariel Zagunis – with the freshman sabre and 2004 Olympic gold medalist compiling an 11-1 record in her first college fencing dual meet (her lone loss was to Olympic teammate Emily Jacobson of Columbia). Senior foilists Alicja Kryczalo (11-1) and Andrea Ament (10-2) continued their four-year domination of collegiate fencing while senior epeeist Michal Sobieraj (10-1) and sophomore sabre Patrick Ghattas (10-2) led the Irish men’s squad.
The Irish women also received high win totals from sophomore sabre Valerie Providenza (9-3) and 5th-year epeeist Kerry Walton (8-4) while sophomore epeeist Aaron Adjemian (8-2) and two newcomers – epeeist Greg Howard (7-2) and foilist Jakub Jedrkowiak (8-4) – added strong days for the men’s squad.
The Notre Dame men’s epeeists led the way with a dominating 30-6 record in Sunday’s action, followed by the women’s foilists (27-9), sabres (25-11) and epeeists (18-18), the men’s sabers (17-19) and the men’s foil squad (15-21), who were coping with the absence of senior All-American Derek Snyder (he recently underwent career-ending hand surgery).
Next weekend’s Notre Dame Duals in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse (Jan. 29-30) will feature a highlight matchup between Notre Dame and Penn State (ranked 2nd in the men’s poll and 3rd in the women’s), on Saturday, Jan. 29, at 11:00 a.m.
ND-OHIO STATE WOMEN’S RECAP – The marquee team matchup of the day lived up to its billing, as Kaela Brendler defeated Walton in the final bout (5-1) to cap the 14-13 thriller (the Irish women edged OSU by the same score at the 2004 ND Duals) … ND held the slight edge in foil (5-4) while OSU finished with 5-4 margins in epee and sabre … Zagunis swept her three bouts while Ament, Kryczalo and Walton were 2-1 (each lost her final bout) … Ament posted an early win over longtime rival Hanna Thompson (5-3) and Kryczalo’s 5-1 win over Alexandra DeCerbo yielded a 4-2 lead in the three-weapon standings before OSU won four straight for a 6-4 lead (including Siobhan Byrne’s 5-3 win over Providenza, the ’04 NCAA champ) … OSU then stretched to a 9-5 lead before leading 10-7 (despite Kryczalo’s 5-0 win over Metta Thompson) and then 11-8 … ND quickly tied the match with wins by Providenza (5-3 vs. Amelia Gaillard), freshman foilist Melanie Bautista (5-1 over DiCerbo) and Zagunis (5-1 vs. Eileen Grench) … the Irish were poised to claim the win with their trio of three-time All-Americans – but Metta Thompson beat Ament (5-2) and her twin sister Hanna beat Kryczalo (3-2, scoring final touch with :03 left in regulation), moments after ND freshman Rachel Cota’s 5-1 win over Caitlin O’Sullivan … ND trailed 13-12 when sophomore Amy Orlando beat Leslie Lampman (4-3) but Brendler beat Walton in the decisive bout.
ND-OSU MEN’S RECAP – The Buckeyes clinched early (14-3) before settling into the final 16-11 margin … two-time NCAA sabre champion Adam Crompton was “black-carded” earlier in the day and thus did not fence vs. the Irish … the ND epee squad enjoyed a strong day vs. OSU (6-3) but the foil and sabre squads both were 2-7 … Adjemian swept his three bouts (5-4 vs. Brian Gross, 5-3 vs. ’04 NCAA semifinalist Denis Tolkachev, 5-1 vs. Christian Rivera) while Sobieraj beat Gross (5-2) and Tolkachev (5-1, repeating his win from the ’04 NCAA 3rd-place bout) but lost to Rivera (3-5) … Howard added a win but lost to Tolkachev (1-5) … Ghattas beat Jason Paul (5-0) and Zachary Parkins (5-2) but lost to U.S. Olympic team member Jason Rogers (3-5) … defending NCAA foil champ Boaz Ellis swept the ND fencers (5-2 vs. Frank Bontempo, 5-1 vs. Jedrkowiak, 5-0 vs. Diego Quinonez).
ND-COLUMBIA RECAP NOTES – The Irish women’s winning streak had ended earlier in the day vs. the Lions … the Irish trailed 12-8 before Ament beat Sarah Loh, Walton topped Rachel Rowe (5-1) and Kryczalo bested Kathleen Reckling … Morgan Midgley’s win over Orlando forged a 13-11 score before Rowe’s overtime win over senior Natalie Bustamante supplied the clincher … Zagunis lost to her national teammate Jacobson (5-2) but she shut out All-American Emma Baratta (5-0) and Christian Robinson … Providenza also posted a 5-1 win over Baratta (an ’04 NCAA semifinalist) … Columbia nearly swept the epee bouts, 8-1 (ND owned a 6-3 edge in foil while winning 4-of-9 sabre bouts) … epee All-American Alexie Rubin swept the ND fencers (4-3 vs. Walton in OT, 5-2 vs. Orlando, 5-4 vs. Becca Chimahusky) … the ND men reversed the score vs. Columbia (winning 16-11), thanks to more domination in epee (8-1; plus 4-5 in epee and sabre) … sophomore Matt Stearns posted a key 5-2 win over All-American Alexander Krul (for 6-4 team lead) … the ND men led 11-9 before the clinching wins from Howard (vs. Gershom Gannon-O’Gara), Quinonez (vs. Luka Lazic) and sophomore epeeist Patrick Gettings (vs. William Verigan) … Ghattas dropped a 5-4 bout to Krul … All-American Gabe Sinkin swept the ND foilists (5-3 vs. Bontempo, 5-2 vs. Quinonez, 5-4 vs. Jedrkowiak).
OTHER DUAL-MATCH NOTES – Stanford’s Iris Zimmerman (the ’01 NCAA foil champ, prior to Kryczalo winning from ’02-’04) has returned after not fencing in ’04 to pursue a spot on the Olympic team … Ament (5-3) and Kryczalo (3-2, winning touch with 0:30 left in regulation) both beat Zimmerman while Cota lost 5-0 … another Stanford foilist, Steve Gerberman, also has returned after likewise taking a shot at the Olympics … Jedrkowiak (5-2) and Quinonez (5-3) both posted wins over Gerberman (who beat Bontempo, 5-3) … Ament’s only other loss of the day came vs. Stanford’s Rebecca Illowsky (3-5) … Stanford All-America epeeist Martin Lee lost to Sobieraj (5-3) and Howard (1-0 in OT) while beating Adjemian (3-2, OT).
RECORD BOOK UPDATE – Sobieraj (121-9) moved up to 39th on the ND list for career men’s fencing wins (all weapons) and remains 6th with a .931 career win pct. (1st among men’s epeeists) … Ghattas (46-6) owns an .885 career win pct. (17th overall, 10th among men’s sabres) …Kryczalo (.927, 139-11) still ranks 4th on the women’s career win pct. list while Ament (.896, 121-14) still is 8th and Walton (.849, 140-25) dropped slightly to 16th (3rd among women’s epeeists) … Providenza’s .842 career win pct. (48-9) ranks 1st in ND women’s sabre history.