Feb. 21, 2004
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams wrapped up a near-perfect 2004 regular season by sweeping six teams at Saturday’s West-vs.-Central Duals, held at Purdue. The top-ranked women’s squad – with most of its top fencers not competing – won 135 of 162 total bouts in action versus the University of Detroit varsity squad and five club programs while the second-ranked Irish men enjoyed a 137-25 day (the men also elected to use primarily the reserve fencers).
The Irish women close the 2004 regular season with a 26-0 record, marking the program’s sixth unbeaten season and first since the 1995 team went 32-0. The Notre Dame women also pushed their overall regular-season winning streak to 40 matches (dating back to a 16-11 loss to Penn State at the 2002 ND Duals) – good for the third-longest winning streak in the program’s history, behind a 75-0 run from ’93-’96 and 42 straight wins from ’85-’86.
The Notre Dame men finish the regular season with a 24-1 mark, falling behind St. John’s in the latest USFCA national coaches poll (SJU handed ND its only loss earlier this season, 18-9). The rest of the current men’s top 10 includes Penn State, Columbia, Ohio State, Princeton, Pennsylvania, Harvard, Duke and NYU.
The Irish women remain atop the national poll, followed by OSU, PSU, Columbia-Barnard, Penn, Northwestern, Princeton, Temple, Harvard and SJU.
Notre Dame next will play host to the annual Midwest Fencing Conference Team and Individual Championships, to be held March 6-7 in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse. Those bouts will serve as final criteria for seeding into the Midwest Regional (March 14 at Northwestern), which then will help determine individual bids to the NCAAs (to be held March 25-28, in the Boston area at Brandeis University).
One of the more unique accomplishments to come out of the final regular-season event was the 7-2 record posted by senior Maggie Jordan in her foil bouts. Jordan finished with a 26-17 regular-season record in foil while pushing her career record in foil to 83-36, to go along with an 85-22 mark while fencing sabre for parts of the 2002-04 seasons. In the process, Jordan becomes just the second Notre Dame fencer – from the men’s or women’s programs – to win 80-plus bouts in multiple weapons (Claudette deBruin had 152 epee wins and 81 in foil, from ’93-’96).
The foil squad (48-6) led the men’s team during the final regular-season event, with the women’s sabre squad posting the same record on Saturday. The men’s also finished with the best overall season record among the men’s weapons (183-42/.813, with epee and sabre at 166-59) while the women’s sabre unit wrapped up a dominant 194-40 season (.829, with foil going 172-62 and epee 169-65).
Both squads had their closest team results on Saturday vs. Michigan (19-8 for the men, 21-6 for the women) and the University of Chicago (19-08 men, 21-6 women).
Top fencers who did not compete at Purdue include men’s epeeist Michal Sobieraj, foilist Derek Snyder and sabres Patrick Ghattas and Matt Stearns, plus women’s epeeist Kerry Walton, foilist Andrea Ament and sabres Valerie Providenza and Angela Vincent. Ghattas was set to compete at a World Cup event in France on Sunday while Walton also is at an international competition, in Luxembourg.
The men’s other wins at Purdue came vs. Michigan State (24-3), Detroit (27-0), Wisconsin (23-4) and the host team (25-2), with the women adding wins over MSU (22-5), Detroit (23-4), Wisconsin (24-3) and Purdue (24-3).
Here are some highlights and notes from the final regular-season event, sorted by weapon:
Women’s Foil – junior Alicja Kryczalo went 7-0 in limited action, pushing her season record to 49-5 (.907) while her career record now stands at 128-10 (.928) … foilist Sara Walsh (.970, 231-7; ’96-’99) is the only ND women’s fencer with a better career win pct. (min. three seasons) than Kryczalo … Kryczalo and Ament (42-4, .913) combined to win 91% of their bouts in 2004 (91-9), with Ament set to enter her senior season ranked 8th on the ND career win pct. list (.902, 111-12) … senior Beth Emilian enjoyed a 13-2 day, yielding a 21-8 season record (45-15 career) … sophomore Colleen Walsh went 11-5 (26-21 season, 51-24 career).
Men’s Foil – fifth-year Forest Walton won all seven of his bouts, yielding a solid 43-8 season (.843) while pushing his career mark to 158-35 (.819) … Walton passed Stephane Auriol (’99) and former classmate Ozren Debic into 2nd on the ND list for career men’s foil wins (behind Jeremy Siek’s 191-21 mark, from ’94-’97) while ranking 9th all-time in wins among all ND men’s weapons … Snyder (38-6 in ’04) will enter his senior season with a 104-19 career mark … Walton and Snyder combined for an 81-14 record in the ’04 regular season (.853) … senior Matt Castellan (17-1) finished his season with a 29-3 mark and ended up five shy of 100 career wins (95-21) … freshman Frank Bontempo (11-0) completed a solid debut season (44-16) while his classmate Eamon Murphy was 10-2 (22-5 season).
Women’s Epee – freshman Amy Orlando (14-0) continued her lateseason surge, winning 45 of her final 50 bouts for a 49-13 season record … she and Walton (39-11) combined for a 88-24 record in the ’04 regular season (.786) … Walton has the option to apply for a fifth year of eligibility and would enter ’05 ranked 14th on the ND career win pct. list (.863, 132-21) … junior Rebecca Chimahusky (16-2) closed a 39-19 season (59-25 career) while her classmate Natalie Bustamante was 4-2 (20-14 season, 40-19 career) … sophomore Marielle Connor chipped in an 11-5 day (21-7 season).
Men’s Epee – Sobieraj (41-3) completed the 4th-best season win pct. in ND men’s epee history (tied with the 1997 pct. by Tim Glass, who was at the Joyce Center this weekend as a Northwestern assistant) … Sobieraj will enter his senior year ranked 5th in ND history with a .933 career win pct. (111-8) that ranks tops among epeeists (he is 46th in total wins for all ND men’s fencers) … freshman Aaron Adjemian went 3-0 for a 28-16 season record … seniors North Carey (4-0, 25-17 season, 53-34 career), Mike Macauley (3-1, 13-5, 44-19) and Nick Schumacher (8-1, 9-2, 35-14) wrapped up their ND regular-season careers … several others men’s epeeists saw action, including sophomores Craig Brede (5-1, 5-3) and Matthew Terreault (6-0, 7-2) and freshmen Chris Castellan (4-1, 6-1) and Jesse Laeuchli (6-2, 13-2).
Women’s Sabre – senior captain Destanie Milo closed her regular-season career with a 3-1 mark in limited action, yielding a 40-12 season … she ends her career ranked 14th on the ND career wins list (166-36) and 19th in career win pct. (.822) … Milo (40-12) and the freshman duo of Providenza (39-6) and Vincent (41-10) combined to win 81% of their bouts in ’04 (120-28), with the two rookies owning a 80-16 combined mark (.833) … Providenza’s .867 season win pct. ranks 4th in the ND women’s sabre charts (Vincent is 5th at .863) … senior Danielle Davis closed her regular-season career with a 17-0 day (32-2 season, 82-27 career) while another senior, Natalia Mazur, saw her most extensive action of the season (17-0, 23-2) … Mazur finished 11th on the ND career win pct. list (.881, 111-15) … junior Natalie Tenner added an 11-5 day (13-5 season).
Men’s Sabre – The freshman tandem of Ghattas (36-4) and Stearns (35-9) have combined to win 85% of their bouts this season (71-13) … Ghattas owns a .900 winning pct. that would rank 7th on the ND charts for career men’s sabre pct … senior Brian Dosal (8-0, 22-9, 57-28) and Brendan Prendergast (10-3, 20-10, 32-16) closed their regular-season careers … junior John Espinosa added an 11-3 day (21-8, 34-13) while sophomore Nicholas Diacou went 6-0 to wrap up a 20-12 season.