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Keys To The Meet: DeCicco Duals

Jan. 26, 2018

By Joanne Norell

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The top-ranked University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams will return to their home strips this weekend as they host the fifth annual DeCicco Duals at the Castellan Family Fencing Center.

WHAT: DeCicco Duals
WHERE: Castellan Family Fencing Center | Notre Dame, Ind.
WHEN: Jan. 27-28, 2018
WHO: Saturday (Varsity): Detroit Mercy, Florida, Northwestern (W), Notre Dame, Wayne State | Sunday (Club): Chicago, Clemson, Florida, Indiana, McKendree, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Purdue

DeCicco Duals Details

Notre Dame hosts the fifth annual DeCicco Duals this weekend at the Castellan Family Fencing Center. The Irish will host a five-team varsity competition Saturday, followed by varsity and club competition on Sunday. Bouts will begin at 9 a.m. ET Saturday and 8 a.m. ET Sunday.

Notre Dame Schedule of Events

9 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Detroit Mercy
11 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Wayne State
12 p.m. – No. 1 Notre Dame (W) vs. No. 8 Northwestern (W)

8 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Clemson
9 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Florida
10 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Purdue
11 a.m. – Notre Dame vs. Indiana
12 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. McKendree
2 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Michigan
3 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Chicago
4 p.m. – Notre Dame vs. Michigan State

*All matchups are for both men’s and women’s teams unless otherwise noted.

Rankings Rundown

CollegeFencing360 released the first coaches poll last week, with both Irish men and women topping the polls. The last time both teams opened the year at No. 1 was 2011, when the Irish went on to win the national championship.

Men’s Rankings

1. Notre Dame
2. Ohio State
2. Columbia
4. Penn State
5. Harvard
6. Princeton
7. Pennsylvania
8. St. John’s
9. Duke
10. Stanford

Women’s Rankings

1. Notre Dame
2. Columbia
3. Penn State
4. Princeton
5. Ohio State
6. Harvard
7. Temple
8. Northwestern
9. Pennsylvania
10. St. John’s

Last Time Out

The Irish competed against top-10 competition throughout last weekend at the St. John’s and Philadelphia Invitationals. The Notre Dame women posted an 8-1 record, while the men went 6-3. Junior foilist Sabrina Massialas led the women with a 12-1 record over the weekend, while senior sabreuse Francesca Russo turned in a 15-5 mark and junior epeeist Amanda Sirico went 14-6. Additionally, sophomore foilist Finnula Mageras went 5-1, freshman foilist Erica Tsai went 5-0, sophomore foilist Samantha Viqueira went 7-3 and freshman sabreuse Reghan Ward went 10-4. For the men, senior epeeist Nicholas Hanahan went 8-3, sophomore epeeist Zach Zeller went 5-0, freshman foilist Nick Itkin went 16-6 and senior sabreur Jonah Shainberg went 15-8.

A Banner 2017 Season

Last season, Notre Dame captured its ninth national title, serving as the host institution at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis. It was a memorable spring for the Irish, who boasted two individual champions in Lee Kiefer (women’s foil) and Francesca Russo (women’s sabre), and seven additional All-Americans: Amanda Sirico (women’s epee), Sabrina Massialas (women’s foil), Kristjan Archer (men’s foil), Axel Kiefer (men’s foil), Ariel Simmons (men’s epee), Jonah Shainberg (men’s sabre), Jonathan Fitzgerald (men’s sabre). Notre Dame’s 186 team points were the most for the Irish in a championship win, and they bested the second-place team, Ohio State, by 25 points.

On The Return

Of Notre Dame’s 12 NCAA qualifiers last season, nine return to the Irish squad this season. Francesca Russo, Tara Hassett, Amanda Sirico, Sabrina Massialas, Jonathan Fitzgerald, Jonah Shainberg, Ariel Simmons, Dylan French, and Axel Kiefer all return to the strip for the 2017-18 season.


Joanne Norell, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2014 and coordinates communications efforts for the Notre Dame men’s tennis and fencing programs, in addition to assisting with football communications and overseeing production of the football Gameday Magazine. Norell is a 2011 graduate of Purdue University and earned her master’s degree from Georgetown University in 2013.