Courtney Hurley won epee gold at the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships, marking one of two Irish fencers to win gold.

Irish Women's Fencers Complete Undefeated Season

Feb. 6, 2010

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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Fighting Irish women’s fencing team went 11-0 on day one of the 2010 Notre Dame duals to close out an undefeated regular season at 35-0. The day was highlighted by the return of Teddy Hodges (Salina, Kan.) who was welcomed back with a short ceremony before Notre Dame’s pivotal match versus fifth-ranked Northwestern. Hodges was reunited with his Irish teammates after overcoming a viral infection that necessitated a heart transplant in the fall of 2009.

“It was very special to fence with our Teddy Hodges here as all our matches were dedicated to him and we won them all!” declared Irish head coach Janusz Bednarski.

Of the 11 wins Notre Dame was able to dedicate to Hodges on day one of the Duals, its 19-8 win over Northwestern was most telling of their recent dominance.

“The kids did really well winning quickly against Northwestern as they are a really good opponent,” Bednarski added. “It was a good tournament for us, especially to finish undefeated at home because home is related with many emotions, including friends coming to watch, so it was a good day.”

With additional wins over Lawrence (26-1), Michigan (25-2)), Wisconsin (24-3), Michigan State (22-5), Illinois (26-1), Chicago (24-3), Cleveland State (25-2), Purdue (25-2), Indiana (21-6) and Detroit (24-3) the Irish completed the seventh undefeated regular season in program history. Dating back to last season, the women have now won 59 consecutive regular-season matches, which is the second longest unbeaten stretch in program history (best stretch is 75 consecutive wins from 1993-96).

On an individual level, the day was once again highlighted by senior epeeist Kelley Hurley (San Antonio, Texas), who posted a 27-0 record. She pushed her personal undefeated streak on the season to 62 bouts, which dates back to the St. John’s Challenge. Hurley also improved her career record to 213-23, placing her in third on Notre Dame’s all-time regular season wins list for female epeeists. She is just the third epeeist, and 12th fencer overall, to crack the 200-career regular season wins plateau in the storied history of the women’s fencing program at Notre Dame.

Not to be outdone, foilist Phenix Messersmith (El Cerrito, Calif.) and sabreists Beatriz Almeida (Chappagua, N.Y.), Danielle Guilfoyle (Pittstown, N.J.), Eileen Hassett (Beaverton, Ore.) and Kathryn Palazzoto (Nutley, N.J.) also turned in unbeaten records on the day. Messersmith, a freshman, went 19-0 on the day to finish her regular season at 40-8. Almeida, a sophomore, added 15 wins against zero losses while Guilfoyle went 19-0. Guilfoyle posted 3-0 records against Michigan State, Illinois, Cleveland State and Detroit. Hassett went 7-0 in her appearances, including a 3-0 record in the Irish win over Northwestern. Palazzoto, a freshman, rounded out the undefeated contingent with an 11-0 mark that included a 3-0 performnce against Illinois.

Junior captain Sarah Borrmann went 4-0 in sabre on the day, including a 3-0 record versus Northwestern. With the four wins, she moves to 156-26 in the regular season and remains fourth all-time in women’s sabre regular season victories. Borrmann also made her epee debut for the Irish on Saturday, posting a 5-2 mark.

Women’s Epee
Aside from Kelley Hurley’s dominating day and Borrmann’s debut, Courtney Hurley (San Antonio, Texas) and Diane Zielinski (Bernardsville, N.J.) had strong days for the Irish as both sophomores eclipsed the 100-regular season wins plateau. C. Hurley went 15-1 to move her career record to 109-11, which is good for an impressive .908 winning percentage. Zielinski went 21-1 on the day to move to 105-31 for her career. All told, the Irish epee starters of K. Hurley, C. Hurley and Zielinski posted a 63-1 mark on Saturday.

Senior Vanessa Rosa (El Paso, Texas) added another 12 wins to her career total, giving her 81-regular season wins. Rounding out the epee contingent, sophomore Stephanie Myers (El Paso, Texas) notched four wins and freshman Caroline Dikibo (Houston, Texas) added a victory.

Women’s Foil
The women’s foil squad used a wide range of contributors as seven fencers notched at least five wins, led by Messersmith’s unbeaten performance. Junior Katie Heinzen (Fairfax, Va.) posted a 19-2 mark, including four 3-0 starts. Sophomore Christina LaBarge (Pasedena, Calif.) went 16-5, while her classmate Radmila Sarkisova (Grand Rapids, Mich.) added 11 wins against just one defeat. Freshman Grace Hartman (St. Paul, Minn.) and sophomore Darsie Malynn (Grapvine, Texas) posted identical 9-1 marks, including one win apiece versus Northwestern. Junior Hayley Reese (Crestwood, Ky.) added five wins, but two of the five were victories in the win over Northwestern. With the five wins, Reese improved her career regular season record to 162-31.

Women’s Sabre
The women’s sabre squad had a dominating day, as indicated by the five fencers who turned in undefeated marks. Freshman Marta Stepien (South Amboy, N.J.) added a 15-2 mark, while her classmate Abigail Nichols (Concord, Mass.) posted an 8-1 record. Two of Nichols’ wins came against Northwestern. Sophomore Colleen Dawes (Golden, Colo.) added six wins and freshman Julia Kohn (Wilmette, Ill.) notched three victories.

The Irish men will look to close out their regular season on a high note as well as they participate in day two of the 2010 Notre Dame Duals tomorrow, Feb. 7. Action is slated to begin at 8:00 a.m. inside the Joyce Center and admission is free of charge. A recap of the men’s performance will be posted at along with complete results. To keep up with all of Sunday’s action, visit to access a live ND Duals blog.


Round 1 ResultsNU def. Michigan 24-3 (E: 8-1, F: 8-1, S: 8-1)ND def. LU 26-1 (E: 9-0, F: 8-1, S: 9-0)UC def. CSU 24-3 (E: 6-3, F: 9-0, S: 9-0)WSU def. Illinois 27-0 (E: 9-0, F: 9-0, S: 9-0)UW tied UD 13-13 (E: 9-0, F: 3-5, S: 1-8)IU def. Purdue 19-8 (E: 9-0, F: 4-5, S: 6-3)
Round 2 ResultsUC def. UD 18-9 (E: 9-0, F: 4-5, S: 5-4)ND def. Michigan 25-2 (E: 9-0, F: 9-0, S: 7-2)NU def. MSU 24-3 (E: 8-1, F: 9-0, S: 7-2)WSU def. IU 23-4 (E: 8-1, F: 9-0, S: 6-3)PU def. LU 21-6 (E: 9-0, F: 5-4, S: 7-2)UW def. Illinois 21-6 (E: 9-0, F: 3-6, S: 9-0)
Round 3 ResultsLU def. CSU 18-1 (E: 1-0, F: 8-1, S: 9-0)ND def. NWU 19-8 (E: 6-3, F: 5-4, S: 8-1)MSU def. UW 21-6 (E: 8-1, F: 4-5, S: 9-0)WSU def. PU 19-8 (E: 8-1, F: 6-3, S: 5-4)UC def. IU 14-13 (E: 4-5, F: 5-4, S: 5-4)Michigan def. Illinois (E: 9-0, F: 6-3, S: 9-0)
Round 4 ResultsND def. UW 24-3 (E: 7-2, F: 8-1, S 9-0)ND def. MSU 22-5 (E: 6-3, F: 9-0, S: 7-2)UD def. Illinois 12-6 (E:0-0, F: 3-6, S: 9-0)NWU def. PU 23-4 (E: 7-2, F: 7-2, S: 9-0)Michigan def. IU 19-8 (E: 7-2, F: 7-2, S: 5-4)UC def. LU 19-8 (E: 9-0, F: 4-5, S: 6-3)WSU def. CSU 20-1 (E: 8-1, F: 3-0, S: 9-0)
Round 5 ResultsND def. Illinois 26-1 (E: 9-0, F: 8-1, S: 9-0)IU def. UW 19-8 (E: 5-4, F: 5-4, S: 9-0)Michigan def. PU 19-8 (E: 5-4, F: 8-1, S: 6-3)MSU def. UC 17-10 (E: 5-4, F: 5-4, S: 7-2)WSU def. LU 23-4 (E: 7-2, F: 9-0, S: 7-2)UD def. CSU 15-4 (E: 0-3, F: 6-1, S: 9-0)
Round 6 ResultsND def. UC 24-3 (E: 8-1, F: 8-1, S: 8-1)PU def. UW 16-11 (E: 5-4, F: 6-3, S: 5-4)Michigan def. MSU 16-11 (E: 6-3, F: 8-1, S: 2-7)IU def. UD 17-10 (E: 9-0, F: 5-4, S: 3-6)LU def. Illinois 12-6 (E: 3-0, F: 3-6, S: 6-0)NWU def. CSU 27-0 (E: 9-0, F: 9-0, S: 9-0)
Round 7 ResultsNWU def. IU 26-1 (E: 9-0, F: 9-0, S: 8-1)UD def. LU 11-9 (E: 0-3, F: 6-2, S: 5-4)WSU def. UW 22-5 (E: 6-3, F: 8-1, S: 8-1)UC def. Illinois 22-5 (E: 9-0, F: 4-5, S: 9-0)MSU def. PU 16-11 (E: 5-4, F: 3-6, S: 8-1)ND def. CSU 25-2 (E: 7-2, F: 9-0, S: 9-0)
Round 8 ResultsUND def. PU 25-2 (E: 8-1, F: 9-0, S: 8-1)UND def. IU 21-6 (E: 7-2, F: 8-1, S: 6-3)UW def. CSU 16-4 (E: 4-3, F: 6-1, S: 6-0)UC def. Michigan 15-12 (E: 5-4, F: 4-5, S: 6-3)NWU def. LU 27-0 (E: 9-0, F: 9-0, S: 9-0)MSU def. Illinois 21-6 (E: 9-0, F: 3-6, S: 9-0)WSU def. UD 21-6 (E: 9-0, F: 8-1, S: 4-5)
Round 9 ResultsMSU def. IU 23-4 (E: 8-1, F: 6-3, S: 9-0)Michigan def. LU 23-4 (E: 8-1, F: 8-1, S: 7-2)ND def. UD 24-3 (E: 9-0, F: 7-2, S: 8-1)PU def. CSU 25-2 (E: 7-2, F: 9-0, S: 9-0)WSU def. UC 15-12 (E: 4-5, F: 8-1, S: 3-6)NWU def. Illinois 26-1 (E: 9-0, F: 8-1, S: 9-0)

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