NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame fencing team was dominant on the first day as the hosts of the Atlantic Coast Conference Championships on Saturday at the Castellan Family Fencing Center. The Irish swept all possible titles, first sweeping the men’s individual competition in the morning before claiming all three of the women’s individual titles in the afternoon. It was the second year in a row that the Irish men and women combined for all six individual weapons titles after they did it for the first time in program history in 2019.
The Irish saw three sophomore men take home championship hardware — Andrew Machovec in foil, Alessandro Contreras in sabre and Josiah Broughton in epee — while another sophomore, Jared Smith, snagged runner-up honors in sabre. The women followed with three champions of their own as Kara Linder (sabre) and Miriam Grady (epee) both claimed back-to-back ACC titles and Stefani Deschner (foil) won the first ACC championship of her career, while Morgan Partridge earned runner-up honors in foil.
The Irish men sent nine individuals to direct elimination after the morning’s pool competition, including the top seed in two of the three weapons. Freshman George Bivins earned the top slot in sabre, sophomore Andrew Machovec led the field in foil. Joining them were sophomores Malcolm Fields, Jared Smith and Alessandro Contreras in sabre, freshman Marcello Olivares and junior Joey Marino in foil, and sophomore Josiah Broughton and senior Darius Zacharakis in epee.
With the Irish claiming all four spots in the sabre semifinals, top-seeded Bivins faced off with No. 4 Contreras and No. 2 Fields matched up with No. 3 Smith. Contreras and Smith each won their bout 15-13 to advance to the ACC championship contest. It was the fourth-seeded Contreras who came out on top 15-11 in the finals to become the first member of the Irish to win a championship on the weekend.
In his second-place finish, Smith earned All-ACC honors for the first time in his career.
In the men’s epee bracket, No. 2 Broughton defeated No. 3 Zacharakis to earn his first-ever trip to an ACC championship bout against No. 4 Bowen Wang from Duke. Broughton, who had only fenced in two meets prior to the ACC Championships this season, suffered injuries early on in the finals but rallied to overcome them in a thrilling 15-14 overtime victory to claim his first ACC title.
The men’s foil competition was dominated by Machovec from start to finish. After posting a 14-1 record with a +44 indicator through the pools and then defeating No. 4 Marino 15-6 in the semifinals, Machovec continued to cruise with a 15-4 victory over No. 3 Brycen Rushing from Duke in the finals. Like the other men’s champions, it was the first ACC championship of his career.
The Irish also snared bronze medals in sabre and foil, with Marino defeating Olivares 15-12 and Bivins downing Fields 15-12. Zacharakis fell to Duke’s Daniel Campbell in a tight 15-13 decision in his bronze medal bout.
The Irish sent seven individuals to the semifinal rounds after 15 bouts of round-robin fencing. Sophomore Kara Linder went 13-2 through pool play, claiming the top seed in women’s sabre, while junior Stefani Deschner posted a 14-1 record to earn the top seed in women’s foil. Joining Linder in the elimination rounds was senior Natalie Disher (No. 3 seed), while seniors Morgan Partridge (No. 2 seed) and Finnula Mageras (No. 3 seed) advanced in foil, and junior Dasha Yefremenko (No. 2 seed) and sophomore Miriam Grady (No. 3 seed) moved on in epee.
Linder handed Duke’s Lindsay Sapienza a 15-8 defeat in the semifinal to face No. 2 Alex Gorman from Duke in the championship bout. She won by a score of 15-10 in the finals to defend her title and claim her second ACC championship in row.
Grady defeated Yefremenko 15-11 in the epee semifinal bout to advance to the championship. In the final, Grady won a close 15-13 bout against Duke’s Huda Aldadah to claim back-to-back ACC titles of her own.
The women’s foil final featured a pair of Irish competitors, with Deschner meeting Partridge for the championship. Deschner had bested Duke’s Julia Noguchi 15-7 in the semifinal, while Partridge edged Mageras 15-10 to make it to the final. In the championship, it was Deschner who claimed her first ACC title, winning by a score of 15-12 over Partridge.
Mageras and Disher each earned bronze medals in the consolation bouts.
WHAT THEY SAID
Josiah Broughton on winning the men’s epee title after not competing much this season…
“Since day one, I’ve really been pushing myself and pressing. I got to go to the Duke meet a couple weeks ago and then to come here is quite the privilege. So, just working hard and long, and I made it. It paid off.”
Andrew Machovec on the Notre Dame men sweeping the championship bouts…
“It’s just awesome to see all of us come out, and we had some close bouts, but everyone prevailed. Just being on this team is just such an honor, and being part of the ones that have won is just even better.”
Kara Linder on winning back-to-back ACC titles in women’s sabre…
“It feels like a lot of work was put in and it’s really nice to see it now come back like this again this season. It’s really great and it’s so awesome to see my teammates support me. I get to fence with them every single day and they’re really awesome.”
ACC Fencing Championships
February 22-23, 2020
Castellan Family Fencing Center
Notre Dame, Ind.
Men’s Individual Championships
 Andrew Machovec (ND) def.  Joey Marino (ND) 15-6
 Brycen Rushing (Duke) def.  Marcello Olivares 15-10
 Andrew Machovec (ND) def.  Brycen Rushing (Duke) 15-4
 Joey Marino (ND) def.  Marcello Olivares (ND) 15-12
Final Foil Standings
1. Andrew Machovec (ND)
2. Brycen Rushing (Duke)
3. Joey Marino (ND)
 Alessandro Contreras (ND) def.  George Bivins (ND) 15-13
 Jared Smith (ND) def.  Malcolm Fields (ND) 15-13
 Alessandro Contreras (ND) def.  Jared Smith (ND) 15-11
 George Bivins (ND) def.  Malcolm Fields (ND) 15-12
Final Sabre Standings
1. Alessandro Contreras (ND)
2. Jared Smith (ND)
3. George Bivins (ND)
 Josiah Broughton (ND) def.  Darius Zacharakis (ND) 15-14
 Josiah Broughton (ND) def.  Bowen Wang (Duke) 15-14
 Daniel Campbell (Duke) def.  Darius Zacharakis (ND) 15-13
Final Epee Standings
1. Josiah Broughton (ND)
2. Bowen Wang (Duke)
3. Daniel Campbell (Duke)
Women’s Individual Championships
 Stefani Deschner (ND) def. Julia Noguchi (Duke) 15-7
 Morgan Partridge (ND) def. Finnula Mageras (ND) 15-10
 Stefani Deschner (ND) def . Morgan Partridge (ND) 15-12
 Finnula Mageras (ND) def.  Julia Noguchi (Duke) 15-7
Final Foil Standings
1. Stefani Deschner (ND)
2. Morgan Partridge (ND)
3. Finnula Mageras (ND)
 Kara Linder (ND) def.  Lindsay Sapienza (Duke) 15-8
 Alex Gorman (Duke) def.  Natalie Disher (ND) 15-9
 Kara Linder (ND) def.  Alex Gorman (Duke) 15-9
 Natalie Disher (ND) def. Lindsay Sapienza (Duke) 15-10
Final Sabre Standings
1. Kara Linder (ND)
2. Alex Gorman (Duke)
3. Natalie Disher (ND)
 Miriam Grady (ND) def.  Dasha Yefremenko (ND) 15-11
 Miriam Grady (ND) def.  Huda Aldadah (Duke) 15-13
 Rylie Rueda (BC) def.  Dasha Yefremenko (ND) 15-14
Final Epee Standings
1. Miriam Grady (ND)
2. Huda Aldadah (Duke)
3. Rylie Rueda (BC)
The Irish will be back on the strip Sunday, when the men and women both compete for team titles. Men’s team action begins at 7 a.m. ET, with championship awards slated for 11:30 a.m. on ACC Network Extra. The women’s team championship will follow and coverage will last throughout the event.
— ND —