Feb. 1, 2003
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The second-ranked Notre Dame men’s fencing team – sparked by noteworthy upset wins from sophomore foilist Derek Snyder, senior sabre Matt Fabricant and junior sabre Brian Dosal – laid its claim to the nation’s top ranking with a 15-12 victory over No. 1 Penn State, during Saturday’s first rounds of competition at the Notre Dame Duals. The tournament concludes with 11 total matches on Sunday (three for the Irish), starting at 8:00 a.m.
The Notre Dame men – who ascended to the No. 1 ranking in 2001 and 2002 (both after wins over then-top-ranked St. John’s) – posted four other wins on Saturday while extending the program’s third-longest winning streak to 70 regular-season matches, dating back to early in the 2000 season. The Irish won six of nine bouts vs. defending NCAA champion Penn State in both epee and sabre while PSU posted a 6-3 edge in the foil bouts.
The second-ranked Notre Dame women dropped a 16-11 decision to top-ranked Penn State but the Irish women posted four wins, including 19-8 vs. #7 Northwestern.
The Irish men won eight of the 10 two-touch bouts vs. the Nittany Lions, including Snyder’s nip-and-tuck victory over defending NCAA champion Nonpatat Panchan (5-4) and Fabricant’s win by the same score versus two-time All-American Amir Rahimi. Dosal added a key 5-3 win over highly-touted freshman Marten Zagunis.
A pair of overtime wins in the epee competition helped provide the winning margin, as sophomore Michal Sobieraj (Krakow, Poland) registered an early 5-4 win over Ethan Muri followed by senior Jan Viviani’s 5-4 OT win over Ryan Wangner (Sobieraj and Wangner had won the coin flips for OT priority and would have been declared winners if the one-minute OT ended without a touch).
The Notre Dame women won six of nine foil bouts vs. PSU but a 7-2 edge in sabre ultimately gave the Nittany Lions the 16-11 win (PSU also held a narrow 5-4 epee edge). The Irish women then recovered for a convincing win over their Midwest rival Northwestern, dominating in the foil (8-1) and epee (7-2) bouts. The Air Force men’s epee squad – led by three-time All-American Seth Kelsey – posted impressive wins over Penn State (7-2) and Notre Dame (6-3; with Kelsey edging Viviani and Sobieraj in 5-4 bouts) – but the Irish men rallied to the 15-12 win over the Falcons thanks to a 5-4 edge in foil and 7-2 in sabre (the women posted a 21-6 win over Air Force).
Notre Dame swept all six weapons vs. UC San Diego (25-2 overall win for the ND women, 18-9 for the men) and Detroit (24-3 women, 24-3 men), with the men adding a 19-8 win over Northwestern.
The win over Penn State included 3-0 epee records from Viviani and Sobieraj while senior foilist Ozren Debic and all three sabres – Fabricant, Dosal and senior Gabor Szelle – each went 2-1. In addition to the five bouts mentioned above, noteworthy wins over PSU included Debic over All-American Ian Schlaepfer (5-4), Sobieraj’s 5-4 battle with his countryman and All-American Adam Wiercioch, Viviani’s 5-2 win over Wiercioch and Szelle’s tight decision vs. Zagunis (5-4).
Sophomore women’s foilist Alicja Kryczalo won her first eight bouts of the day before seeing her collegiate winning streak snapped at 48 matches, in a 5-3 bout vs. recently-added Penn State newcomer and Germany native Anna Donath. Kryczalo – whose streak included her final six bouts at the 2002 Midwest Regional, a 25-0 record at the ’02 NCAAs and 9-0 showing at last week’s OSU Duals – went on to compile a 12-1 record for the day, yielding a 60-3 career record with the Irish in regular-season bouts (115-4 overall in her ND career).
Kryczalo led a dominating 38-7 day for the women’s foil squad, with sophomore Andrea Ament (11-1; 48-5 career) and senior captain Liza Boutsikaris (8-3) also playing key roles in the women’s foil bouts. Junior captain Destanie Milo returned to action after missing last week’s OSU Duals due to illness, with Milo posting a 12-3 record to lead a women’s sabre squad that won 31 of its 45 bouts (her classmate Maggie Jordan went 11-3).
Sabre posed the biggest question mark heading into 2003 but the Irish men (35-10) and women’s sabre teams combined for 65 wins in Saturday’s action, the best combined showing by any weapon.
Other top overall records for the day included one-loss marks by veterans Szelle (11-1), Fabricant (11-0) and Debic (9-1) and the emerging Sobieraj (11-1, now 48-2 in his ND career), plus Viviani’s 10-2 record.
See PDF for complete Day-1 results and for listings of the the ND-PSU matchups bout-by-bout.
OTHER BOUTS OF NOTE: Senior epee captain Anna Carnick beat PSU’s Jessica Burke (the 2000 NCAA champion) in a 5-4 overtime bout (Burke had the OT priority) … Carnick also bested Air Force 2001 All-America Elia Burrill (5-0) … Milo posted a 5-2 win over AFA’s Andrea Rix (a 2002 NCAA competitor) while Debic (5-0) and senior Forest Walton (5-4) both posted wins over AFA’s Chris Jones (a 2000 NCAA entrant) … Kryczalo registered a 5-0 win over Northwestern All-America Julia Foldi while Milo (5-2) and Jordan (5-3) each bested Wildcats All-American Lauren Dunn.
RECORD BOOK UDPATE: Szelle (156-11) jumped from 17th to 9th on the ND list for career wins (among all weapons), with Viviani (139-17) moving from 27th to 19th on that list, Debic (136-8) from 31st to 24th and Fabricant (113-19) from 44thtto 35th … Szelle now ranks 5th in ND men’s sabre wins, just one behind ’85 grad. Mike Janis … Debic cracked the ND top-10 list for career men’s foil wins … Carnick (163-40, including 9-3 on Saturday) climbed from 14th to 10th on the ND list for career women’s fencing wins (all weapons), senior epeeist Meagan Call (151-50, 7-5 on Saturday) moved from 19th to 16th and Boutsikaris (148-33) from 22nd to 18th … Carnick also moved past Ashley Shannon (’94-’96) into 6th on the ND list for women’s epee wins, just four behind Magda Krol (’97-’99) and seven shy of Colleen Smerek (’95, ’97).