Feb. 7, 2003
(Note: see PDF for complete Day-1 Duke Duals stats and bout-by-bout scores from ND-Stanford matchup.)
The second-ranked Notre Dame men’s fencing team solidified its chances to ascend to the No. 1 ranking when the new polls are released later this week, with the Irish going 5-0 in Friday’s action at the Duke Duals. The tournament concludes on Saturday with the second-ranked Notre Dame women facing the same five opponents.
Notre Dame (19-0 overall) posted easy wins over North Carolina and Johns Hopkins (both 25-2) and added 19-8 victories over Air Force and Duke, with the most noteworthy result coming in an 18-9 victory over sixth-ranked Stanford. The Irish posted 6-3 records in all three weapons, most notably winning the men’s foil showdown that featured three former All-Americans for both sides.
Senior foil captain and three-time All-American Ozren Debic went 15-0 for the day, pushing his season record to 42-1 while his career regular-season record now stands at 156-8 (for a .951 career winning pct. that ranks third all-time among all Notre Dame men’s fencers). Debic posted wins over all three Stanford All-Americans, besting Mark Mulholland and former rival Florian Reichling by 5-2 scores while beating Steve Gerberman, 5-3. Debic’s classmate Forest Walton (13-2) chipped in with wins over Mulholland (5-1) and Gerberman (5-4) while sophomore Derek Snyder rallied from a 4-2 deficit to edge his longtime friend and fellow U.S. National Team member Gerberman (5-4) – helping the ND foil squad compile another strong day (40-5 overall).
The senior men’s sabre duo of Matt Fabricant (13-1) and Gabor Szelle (12-2) enjoyed strong days, with Fabricant posting a 5-1 win over Duke’s Ben Cohen (a 2002 NCAA participant) while Szelle beat Cohen (5-2) and NCAA veteran Wesley Newkirk of UNC (5-1). Szelle’s 40-5 season record pushes his career regular-season mark with the Irish to 174-13, tying former epeeist Carl Jackson (’99) for sixth place on the Notre Dame all-time men’s fencing wins list.
There was no rematch between Air Force three-time All-American Seth Kelsey and Notre Dame’s top epeeists, with Kelsey attending a World Cup event in Barcelona. Senior captain Jan Viviani and sophomore Michal Sobieraj both went 12-3 for the day, with Sobieraj registering a 5-2 win over Stanford NCAA veteran Ken Jung while Viviani posted a 5-1 win over NCAA competitor Matt Bouloubasis of Johns Hopkins (Viviani lost to Jung, 5-2, with Sobieraj dropping a 5-3 bout to Bouloubasis).
Other noteworthy Notre Dame wins over NCAA-caliber fencers included a sweep of JHU’s Bryan Bishe by Debic (5-1), Snyder (5-2) and Walton (5-2) while junior North Carey bested JHU’s Bouloubasis (5-3) and sophomore Brian Dosal beat Newkirk (5-3). Stanford newcomer Martin Lee – a member of the U.S. Cadet World Team – dropped a 5-2 bout to Sobieraj but posted wins over Viviani (5-2) and Carey (5-3).
Debic has combined with Snyder (34-6) and Walton (35-9) to lead a strong season showing by the ND men’s foil squad (141-30, .825), with that trio of All-Americans forming the core of a 2003 foil unit that has combined for nearly 400 career wins (393-77, .836).
Notre Dame wraps up the regular season at the Michigan State Duals (Feb. 22).
RECORD BOOK UPDATES
* In addition to Szelle (6th, 174-13), four others moved up the ND list for career men’s fencing wins: Viviani (156-20) and Debic (156-8) now are tied with former teammate Brian Casas (epee, ’02) for 10th, Fabricant (143-21; 41-4 in ’03) moved up from 28th to 21st (9th among sabers) and Walton (52nd, 105-28) cracked the 100-win plateau.
* Debic (.951) remains 3rd on the ND list for career winning pct. (all men’s weapons, 1st among foilists), with Szelle still 5th (.931) while Viviani checks in at 16th on that list (.886, 1st among epeeists) and Fabricant at 21st (.872) … Sobieraj (65-5, .929) would rank 7th on that list and 1st among epeeists.
* Debic’s .977 regular-season winning pct. in ’03 (42-1) would rank 5th-best ever by any ND men’s fencer, trailing only the three dominating seasons by sabre Mike Sullivan (41-0 in ’78, 53-1 in ’76, 47-1 in ’77) and sabre Ed Baguer’s 30-0 mark in ’92 (min. 30 wins) … Debic already owns three of the top-seven ND men’s foil season win pct.’s (42-2 in ’01, 30-2 in ’02, 42-3 in ’01), with Yehuda Kovacs (34-1 in ’87, 31-1 in ’89) owning the top marks on record … Debic also moved from 7th to 2nd on the ND men’s foil career wins list (156, behind Jeremy Siek’s 191 from ’94-’97).
* Viviani (156; 38-6 in ’03) moved from 6th to a share of 4th on the ND men’s epee wins list, behind Brian Stone (183, ’98), Carl Jackson (174, ’99) and Tim Glass (160, ’77).
* Sobieraj’s current .907 season winning pct. (39-4) would rank 8th all-time among ND men’s epeeists.