Sophomore foilist Emilie Prot's tying touch in the closing seconds and winning touch in overtime produced a key win over Courtney Streithorst, helping provide the final margin in another classic 14-13 showdown with Ohio State (photo by Matt Cashore).

Irish Women's Fencers Open 8-0 At Notre Dame Duals, Highlighted By Another Classic 14-13 Battle With Ohio State

Jan. 20, 2007


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NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame and Ohio State women’s fencing teams added another classic chapter to their growing rivalry during Saturday’s action in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse, as the 4th-ranked Irish turned in several key bouts to edge the 6th-ranked Buckeyes, 14-13, to highlight first-day action at the annual Notre Dame Duals. It marked the third time in the past five meetings that the ND and OSU teams have battled to a 14-13 score – with this year’s showdown being clinched on the 26th bout while the previous one-point decisions came down to the 27th and final bout. Freshman epeeist Kelley Hurley paced the win over the Buckeyes by winning all three of her bouts while five others posted two wins, including sophomore foilist Emilie Prot’s overtime victory over Courtney Streithorst (Prot stayed alive by scoring the 4-4 touch with just :02 left in regulation). Senior walk-on Erin Housing also delivered a key win, beating Ohio State veteran Syvenna Siebert in a key mid-match bout (a Housing loss at that time would have left the Irish facing a 6-10 deficit).


Kelley Hurley opened her college career with a 17-2 record that included a key sweep of the Ohio State epeeists (photo by Pete LaFleur).



Action continues on Sunday with the men’s bouts, running from 8:00 a.m. to approximately 4:00 p.m. The marquee matchup again will feature Notre Dame versus Ohio State, at 11:20 (the OSU men are ranked #2 and the ND men are ranked 5th). In addition to the various OSU fencers, Notre Dame’s other top opponets on Sunday will include the likes of: Wayne State epeeist Marek Petraszek, UC San Diego foilists John Chung and Cameron Sprowles, UCSD sabreists Jason and Jeremiah Runyan, Detroit sabreist Jarislaw Jelinek and the Stanford grouping of sabreist Teddy Levitt, epeeist Clayton Kenney and foilist Ricahrd Fulton (ND is scheduled to face WSU at 8:50, UCSD at 12:10, Detroit at 1:00 and Stanford at approximately 2:40).

The Notre Dame women – who now own a 4-2 regular-season series edge versus Ohio State during the tenure of Irish head coach Janusz Bednarski (2003-07) – went 8-0 overall in Saturday’s competition, producing a two-year, 30-match win streak that ranks 6th-longest in the program’s history. The Irish fencers combined to win nearly 80 percent of their bouts (168-48; .778), with other noteworthy wins coming over 10th-ranked Stanford (19-8) and Wayne State (18-9). Notre Dame also defeated Cal State Fullerton (26-1), Lawrence (23-4), UC San Diego (17-10), Detroit (24-3) and Cleveland State (27-0).

Prot (15-2) and her classmate Adi Nott (17-1) led the way for a Notre Dame women’s foil team that won nearly 90 percent of its bouts (63-9; .875) while Hurley’s strong debut (17-2) helped the Irish epeeists go 58-14 (.806). Senior Valerie Providenza (11-2) and the sabre squad added a 47-25 record (.653) to round out Notre Dame’s strong first day of the season. Six other Irish fencers posted double-digit victory totals: sophomore sabreist Ashley Serrette (17-7), senior epeeist Amy Orlando (14-4), sophomore epeeist Kim Montoya (13-7), Housing (11-5), and junior foilists Melanie Bautista (11-5) and Rachel Cota (11-1).


Sabreist Valerie Providenza stepped up with a 11-2 day while pushing her career regular-season win total above 150 (photo by Matt Cashore).



Notre Dame’s dominance in epee (7-2) proved to be the difference versus Ohio State, with Orlando and Montoya both going 2-1 to along with Hurley’s 3-0 showing. The Buckeyes were able to post a three-point margin in sabre (6-3, despite two wins from Providenza) while an unusually long foil match saw OSU win the final bout for a 5-4 differential. (Note: full sequence of the ND-OSU match is included later in this release.)

The Buckeyes opened the showdown with a pair of quick sabre wins (including Siebert’s 5-2 bout with Providenza) but the Irish battled back to 3-3, with Providenza delivering a key 5-4 win over fellow All-American Eileen Grench. Ohio State responded with three straight wins (6-3) but Notre Dame matched that streak (6-6), thanks to wins by Hurley (5-2 over Alexandra Obrazcova), Nott (5-0 vs. Streithorst) and Providenza, who handled Siobhan Byrne in a matchup of three-time All-Americans.

The visitors came right back with three straight wins for a 9-6 cushion before Housing’s key victory over Siebert. Back-to-back wins by Montoya (5-0 vs. Obrazcova) and Hurley (who edged Leslie Lampman, 5-4) later yielded an 11-1 score, leaving the match up for grabs with just five bouts left to be contested.


Foilists Rachel Cota (left) and Colleen Walsh react to Emilie Prot’s pivotal overtime win (photo by Pete LaFleur).



The next foil bout featured a rare extension of time, thanks to Prot’s touch on Streithorst in the closing seconds of regulation. Prot won the coin-toss priority and would have been granted the victory if the one-minute sudden-death produced no touches, but Prot took matters into her own hands and quickly scored the winning touch in overtime to give the Irish their first lead of the match (12-11).

Orlando then showed her veteran savvy by winning a 5-3 bout with Elyse Gurnowski (13-11) but Israeli import Julia Tikhonova kept the Buckeyes alive with her 5-1 win over Nott. The clinching bout came moments later, as Prot topped newcomer Holly McKibben for the 14-12 lead.

In other bouts of note, Wayne State senior Anna Garina – the ’04 and ’05 NCAA champion and ’06 runner-up – dropped a 5-3 decision to Hurley while posing wins over Montoya (5-2) and Orlando (5-4). Garina’s teammate Justyna Konoczalska, who placed 4th at the ’06 NCAAs, managed a sweep of the Notre Dame epeeists (5-1 vs. Orlando, 5-3 vs. Hurley and 5-4 vs. Montoya) while Providenza scored a 5-4 win over WSU All-American Kasia Kuzniak (who beat Serrette 5-2 and Christina Zoccoli, 5-3).


Epeeist Amy Orlando (14-4) was one of 10 Notre Dame fencers to post double-digit wins during Saturday’s action (photo by Pete LaFleur).



Notre Dame faced five other fencers on Saturday who have past NCAA Tournament experience, with the Irish going 9-6 in those bouts. Hurley posted a 5-2 win over UC San Diego All-American Chelsea Ambort (who beat Montoya 5-3 and edged Orlando, 5-4) while Stanford All-American Eva Jellison turned in a sweep of the ND sabreists (5-4 vs. Providenza, 5-1 vs. Zoccoli and 5-3 vs. Serrette). The Notre Dame foilsts swept two of the other NCAA veterans – Wayne State`s Lindsay Howard (Prot 4-2, Bautista and Nott 5-4) and Cleveland State’s Leigh Pendergrass (Prot and Cota 5-3, Nott 5-0) – while Nott (5-3) and Prot (5-1) both topped UCSD’s Jen Chun (who beat Cota, 5-2).

Provideanza’s 11 wins made her the 23rd Notre Dame women’s fencer ever to reach 150 career regular-season victories (151-25; .858) while Orlando now ranks 11th on the Irish list for career women’s epee wins (143-41).

The Notre Dame women now hold a slight overall edge in the five-year rivalry with Ohio State (23-7), with the Irish winning four of the six regular-season meetings during that span. Notre Dame’s 88-74 margin in bouts won during those seven matchs includes 35-19 in foil and 29-25 in epee (OSU holds the slight sabre edge, 30-24). The teams have split the past four Midwest Fencing Conference women’s fencing titles (ND won in ’03 and ’05, OSU in ’04 and ’06), with the Irish winning a pair of MFC women’s foil titles during that stretch plus the 2003 MFC women’s epee title (OSU has four MFC women’s sabre titles plus one each in foil and epee, since ’03). When it comes to NCAA Tournament bouts, the Notre Dame women hold a 24-16 advantage over their OSU counterparts since 2003 (9-3 in foil, 7-5 in epee, 8-8 in sabre).Notre Dame women’s fencers also have won four NCAA individual titles since 2003: Providenza in ’05, fellow sabreist Mariel Zagunis in ’06 and foilist Alicja Kryczalo in ’03 and ’04 (Kryczalo was on hand Saturday, serving as a bout director/official).

Former Princton epeeist and South Bend area native Eleanor Leighton – who fenced for the Tigers at the 2003 NCAAs – officially has joined the Notre Dame program for the 2007 season. Leighton went 8-1 in her bouts during Saturday’s action and could provide key depth to the women’s epee squad this season, most notably when Hurley and Orlando have the option of attending World Cup events that conflict with a collegiate competition.


Sophomore sabreist Ashley Serrette (17-7) tied for the most wins of any Notre Dame fencer in the 2007 ND Duals (photo by Pete LaFleur).



The Notre Dame and Ohio State women split the previous two 14-13 battles. The 2004 ND Duals saw a top-ranked Irish team edge the 2nd-ranked Buckeyes, thanks to Providenza’s 5-3 win over Siebert in the 27th bout. One year later, OSU returned the favor with a one-point win at the NYU Duals – matching the #1 beats #2 result from the year before (Kaela Brendler’s 5-1 win over Kerry Walton gave the Buckeyes that 14-13 win).

#4 Notre Dame women vs. #6 Ohio State (ND 14, OSU 13)
WS – Eileen Grench def. Christina Zoccoli, 5-0 … OSU leads ND 0-1
WS – Syvenna Siebert def. Valerie Providenza, 5-2 … 0-2
WE – Amy Orlando def. Leslie Lampman, 5-3 … 1-2
WS – Siobhan Byrne def. Ashley Serrette, 5-0 … 1-3
WE – Kim Montoya def. Elyse Gurnowski, 5-2 … 2-3
WS – Providenza def. Grench, 5-4 … 3-3
WF – Holly McKibben def. Melanie Bautista, 5-1 … 3-4
WS – Byrne def. Zoccoli, 5-0 … 3-5
WS – Siebert def. Serrette, 5-3 … 3-6
WE – Kelley Hurley def. Alexandra Obrazcova, 5-2 … 4-6
WF – Adi Nott def. Courtney Streithorst, 5-0 … 5-6
WS – Providenza def. Byrne, 5-2 … 6-6
WF – Julia Tikhonova def. Emilie Prot, 5-1 … 6-7
WE – Lampman def. Montoya, 5-3 … 6-8
WS – Grench def. Serrette, 5-0 … 6-9


Senior Erin Housing delivered a key win over Syvenne Siebert (pictured) to help edge the Buckeyes by a single point (photo by Pete LaFleur).



WS – Erin Housing def. Siebert, 5-3 … 7-9 (OSU wins sabre, 6-3)
WE – Obrazcova def. Orlando, 5-3 … 7-10
WF – Nott def. McKibben, 5-2 … 8-10
WE – Hurley def. Gurnowski, 5-2 … 9-10
WF – Tikhonova def. Bautista, 5-2 … 9-11
WE – Montoya def. Obrazcova, 5-0 … 10-11
WE – Hurley def. Lampmann, 5-4 … 11-11
WF – Prot def. Streithorst, 5-4 … 12-11 (Prot ties 4-4 with :02 remaining, wins in sudden death, first lead for ND)
WE – Orlando def. Gurnowski, 5-3 … 13-11 (ND wins epee, 7-2)
WF – Tikhonova def. Nott, 5-3 … 13-12
WF – Prot def. McKibben, 5-1 … 14-12
WF – Streithorst def. Bautista, 5-3 … 14-13 (OSU wins foil, 5-4)


Sophomore foilist Adi Nott (17-1) had the best record by a Notre Dame fencer in the first event of the 2007 season (photo by Pete LaFleur).



Notre Dame 2007 Collegiate Fencing Duals
Women’s Bouts (Saturday, Jan. 20, 2007; Joyce Center Fieldhouse)

Team Records
#4-ranked Notre Dame – 8-0
#6-ranked Ohio State – 7-1
Wayne State – 5-3
UC San Diego – 4-3
#10-ranked Stanford – 4-4
Cleveland State – 3-5
Lawrence – 2-6
Cal State Fullerton – 1-6
Detroit – 1-7

Notre Dame def. Cal State Fullerton, 26-1
Wayne State def. Stanford, 17-10
Cleveland State def. Lawrence, 15-12
Ohio State def. UC San Diego, 23-4

Notre Dame def. Wayne State, 18-9
Ohio State def. Cal State Fullerton, 26-1
Stanford def. Lawrence, 19-8
UC San Diego def. Detroit, 23-4

Notre Dame def. Lawrence, 23-4
Wayne State def. Cal State Fullerton, 23-4
UC San Diego def. Cleveland State, 22-5
Ohio State def. Detroit, 24-3


Kelley Hurley (lunging), Amy Orlando (back left) and Kim Montoya (back right) combined to win 77 percent of their bouts (44-13) in the Notre Dame Duals (photo by Pete LaFleur).



Detroit def. Cal State Fullerton, 16-11
Wayne State def. Lawrence, 22-5
Ohio State def. Cleveland State, 26-1
Stanford def. UC San Diego, 14-13

Notre Dame def. Ohio State, 14-13
Cleveland State def. Cal State Fullerton, 20-7
Stanford def. Detroit, 20-5
UC San Diego def. Wayne State, 14-13

Notre Dame def. UC San Diego, 17-10
Lawrence def. Cal State Fullerton, 18-9
Ohio State def. Stanford, 19-8
Cleveland State def. Detroit, 18-9


Melanie Bautista looks on as her classmate Emilie Prot is congratulated by foil coach Gia Kvaratskhelia (photo by Pete LaFleur).



Notre Dame def. Detroit, 24-3
Stanford def. Cleveland State, 18-9
Ohio State def. Wayne State, 18-9
UC San Diego def. Lawrence, 25-2

Notre Dame def. Cleveland State, 27-0
Ohio State def. Lawrence, 26-1
Cal State Fullerton def. Stanford, 16-11
Wayne State def. Detroit, 21-6

Notre Dame def. Stanford, 19-8
Wayne State def. Cleveland State, 20-7
Lawrence def. Detroit, 15-12