Nov. 14, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame fencing program has a busy weekend ahead of them, but that weekend started off the right way with a 60-45 win over Northwestern. With only the women fencing, the teams elected to do a running score, with each touch awarded counting as one point. The first team to 60 touches won the match.
“We were a little nervous, a little rusty, but it’s only the beginning of the year – we’re only going to get better,” Irish associate head coach Gia Kvaratskhelia says. “We should be a lot more focused and concentrated on Sunday. There won’t be too many crowds, less distractions, so it should be a good match to go to.”
Up first for the Irish, the epee squad featured Catherine Lee, Eva Niklinska, Ashley Severson and Nicole Ameli. Lee and Wildcat foe Anna Tolley stood tied, 2-2 as time expired, and Niklinska was unable to up the Irish score as her bout finished with Northwestern ahead, 5-2. Severson and Ameli – the women’s epee captains for 2014-15 – fared better with their Northwestern counterparts, as the score stood 9-7 in favor of Northwestern after Severson’s bout. Ameli turned the tide for the Irish, switching the score in favor of Notre Dame, 12-11.
Up for the Irish in foil, Sarah Followill, Nicole McKee, Madison Zeiss and Lee Kiefer demonstrated why foil is arguably Notre Dame’s strongest weapon. Followill’s bout expired with Northwestern’s Jen Yamin edging her, 16-14, but McKee countered against Kaila Budofsky, tying the match 20-20. Zeiss and her partner Stephanie Chan also remained tied, 25-25, but 2012 Olympian Lee Kiefer went on a hot streak and scored 15 touches against Charlotte Sands to effectively clinch the match for the Irish, 40-28.
In the last weapon to fight in the early evening, the Irish sabre rotation featured three freshmen and one junior – Jamie Norville, Claudia Kulmacz, captain Johanna Thill and Francesca Russo. Up first, Norville maintained momentum from the foil bouts, besting Emine Yucel 45-33. Up next, Kulmacz fought valiantly against Julia Abelsky, upping the Irish score to 50. Thill followed suit, adding five points, and from there the rest was history as Russo closed out the evening with the final point scored against Alisha Gomez-Shah.
The Irish are next in action Sunday at the Ohio State Elite Cup, where they will face many east coast teams in addition to Penn State and the hosting Buckeyes.
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