Final 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional Brackets (PDF)

March 10, 2007

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame fencing team received several key efforts from individual fencers who were on the proverbial “bubble” for spots in the NCAA finals, during Saturday’s NCAA Midwest Regional action at the Joyce Center. Three Irish sophomores – women’s sabreist Ashley Serrette, men’s foilist Mark Kubik and men’s epeeist Karol Kostka – posted the needed Regional finish to likely secure a berth in the NCAAs (officially TBA next week, likely on March 14), giving Notre Dame a probable 11 entrants out of a maximum 12 for the NCAA Championships (March 22-25, in Madison, N.J.). Two lefthanders from the Irish women’s fencing team – freshman epeeist Kelley Hurley and sophomore foilist Adi Nott – paced Notre Dame’s overall day by winning their respective Regional titles, with junior foilist Jakub Jedrkowiak and sophomore sabreist Bill Thanhouser adding runner-up finishes for the ND men’s squad.

(Note: a link to the PDF of the final brackets will be added to this recap later tonight; all six brackets also are available at the following link:

In addition to the seven fencers mentioned above, Notre Dame’s other probable qualifiers include sophomore foilist Emilie Prot (5th-place Regional finish), senior sabreists Valerie Providenza and Patrick Ghattas (both 3rd), and junior epeeist Greg Howard (4th). Kostka surged to a 3rd-place epee finish while Kubik placed 4th in men’s foil and Serrette 6th in the women’s sabre standings. Individual selection to the NCAA finals is based on pre-Regional “power ranking” (40%) and Regional placement (60%). Each team may qualify a maximum of two fencers per weapon but it appears that the Irish will not be able to send two women’s epeeists to compete in what could be a classic six-team battle for the NCAA title (which is a combined men’s and women’s championships, with team points accumulated based on individual round-robin wins).

The Midwest Region has five automatic NCAA spots in women’s epee, with Notre Dame senior Amy Orlando and sophomore Kim Montoya likely ending up a few spots shy of even earning one of the two “at-large” spots into the 24-fencer NCAA field (22 of those spots are filled by automatic qualifiers from the nation’s four regions). Orlando, bidding for her fourth NCAA appearance, entered the NCAAs as the #7 seed but slipped to #8 after her pool bouts and thus had to face Hurley in the second round (Orlando ultimately placed 10th).Montoya entered as the Regional’s #10 seed but her strong showing in the pools vaulted her to a #4 seed for the direct-elimination stage, leading to an 8th-place finish.

The Midwest Region will send five fencers to the NCAAs in every weapon except men’s foil, with just four spots allocated to the Midwest in that weapon.

Ohio State – the other national-title contender from the Midwest – also appears to have qualified 11 fencers for the NCAAs but the Buckeyes could receive a 12th entrant, as foilist Holly McKibben is the region’s top alternate candidate in that weapon and may receive one of the two at-large spots. Others who should be in the mix for the 2007 NCAA team title include Penn State, Harvard, Columbia and St. John’s.

Hurley’s big win came in the semifinals (15-14 over Wayne State’s Anna Garina, the 2004 and ’05 NCAA champion), followed by a 15-5 versus Ohio State’s Leslie Lampman. Nott battled her Northwestern rivals in the final two bouts, besting Jessica Florendo in a 15-10 semifinal before edging Samantha Nemecek in a defensive-minded final (8-6). Ohio State’s Siobhan Byrne won the women’s sabre final, 15-10 over her teammate Eileen Grench, with Providenza topping another OSU fencer (Syvenna Siebert) in the 3rd-place bout, 15-2.

Thanhouser beat Ohio State’s Sergey Smirnov in the sabre semifinals (15-13) but lost to his OSU teammate Mike Momtselidze in the 15-10 final. Jedrkowiak topped Kubik in the semifinals (15-9) before falling to OSU’s Andras Horanyi (the 2006 NCAA runner-up) in the foil final, 15-4. The epee 3rd-place bout featured a pair of Irish fencers, with Kostka edging Howard by a 15-14 score. Wayne State’s Marek Petraszek had a similar one-point win in the epee final, 13-12, versus OSU’s Mykhaylo Mazur.

Kostka’s clutch performance included a pair of 15-14 wins and another by a 15-13 score, with a pair of those narrow wins coming vs. the pre-Regional #1 seed Slava Zingerman of Wayne State.

The Notre Dame men’s sabre team placed four fencers into the final-8, with Matt Stearns topping fellow senior Ryan Bradley in the 5th-place bout.

Hurley and Nott also won Midwest Fencing Conference titles last weekend, marking just the sixth and seventh time this decade that a Notre Dame fencer has claimed the MFC and Regional titles in the same season. Foilist Ozren Debic won both titles in three straight seasons (2000-02), as did epeeist Brian Casas in 2001, foilist Alicja Kryczalo in ’02 and ’03, and Ghattas in 2005. Hurley and Nott join Debic and Kryczalo (’02) as the only pair of Notre Dame fencers in the current decade to win their respective MFC and Regional titles in the same year. Kryczalo pulled off the trifecta by claiming NCAA titles in 2002 and ’03, with Nott and Hurley hoping to join her in that unique distinction two weeks from now at Drew University (site of the 2007 NCAAs).

Here’s a closer look at the Regional competition, sorted by weapon:

WOMEN’S FOIL – Nott received a 1st-round bye, after improving on her #2 seed with some strong fencing in the pool round … she then registered a big win over OSU’s Courtney Streithorst (15-4) and kept rolling in the round-of-8 vs. OSU’s McKibben (15-2) … Nott closed versus Northwestern’s top duo, besting Florendo in a 15-10 semifinal before the 8-6 defensive battle with Nemecek … Prot entered the day as the #3 seed but slipped to #5 after the pools, followed by a 15-4 win over ND junior Rachel Cota and a 2-15 loss to OSU’s Julia Tikhonova (the pre-Regional #1 seed) … Prot followed with a 15-9 win over Cleveland State’s Leigh Pendergrass – sending her on to the final-8, where she lost again to Tikhonova (8-11) before battling to the 5th-place finish with wins over Northwestern’s Natalie Wang (15-9) and OSU’s McKibben (15-12) … Cota placed 12th in the 14-fencer field … Florendo beat Tikhonova in the 3rd-place bout (15-11) while Wang topped her teammate Meredith Baskies for 7th place (15-10).

WOMEN’S EPEE – Hurley’s 15-14 semifinal win over WSU’s Garina (a two-time Regional champion) and the 15-5 final victory over OSU’s Lampman to claim the title, extending her impressive freshman season that includes a 51-4 regular-season record and winning the MFC title … Hurley – the #1 seed before and after the pool rounds – opened the round-of-8 with a 15-7 win over fellow freshman Christa French of Northwestern … Garina beat OSU’s Alexandra Obrazcova in the 3rd-place bout (15-11) while Kayley French (Christa’s twin sister and NU teammate) slipped by WSU’s Justyna Konczalska for 5th (15-14) and Christa French defeated Montoya in the 7th-place bout (14-9) … Montoya entered as the #10 seed but strong results in the pool bouts landed her in the #4 spot heading into the DE … she then defeated Lawrence’s Elise Grasso (15-3) and lost to OSU’s Lampman (11-15) before posting a win over OSU’s Elyse Gurnowski (15-9) to earn a spot in the final-8 (where she lost to Lampman, 14-15, and the French sisters, 12-15 vs. Kayley and 9-14 vs. Christa) … some tough breaks in her matchups resulted in Orlando (the #7 pre-Regional seed) missing out on the top-8, with the loss to Hurley in the second round (5-15) and then an excruciating 14-15 loss to the #3 seed Obrazcova in the secondary bracket … Orlando initially went 3-3 in a challenging pool (placing her 8th for the DE), with pool losses vs. Garina, Kayley French and Montoya … ND senior Eleanor Leighton placed 12th … Kayley French beat WSU’s Justyna Konczalska in the 5th-place bout.

WOMEN’S SABRE – Providenza (#1 pre-Regional seed, #3 after pools) opened the DE with a 15-1 win over WSU’s Alicia Chmielewski, followed by a 15-12 bout with Northwestern’s Mai Vu to earn the quick trip to the final-8 … she then had an easier win over Vu (15-4) but lost to OSU’s Grench (10-15), followed by a convincing 15-2 win over OSU’s Syvenne Siebert in the 3rd-place bout … Serrette (#8/#7) started the DE with a 15-9 win over Northwestern’s Adrienne Shon before losing to Grench (9-15) and staying alive for the final-8 with a 15-11 win over WSU’s Ann Bartosewicz … Grench topped Serrette again in the round-of-8 (15-5) but Serrette won a tight battle with Vu (15-14) before dropping the 5th-place bout to WSU’s Kasia Kuzniak (12-15) … Vu beat her teammate Sophie Eustice for 7th place … ND freshman Christina Zoccoli placed 13th while senior Erin Housing was 16th.

MEN’S FOIL – Jedrkowiak entered the day as the #5 seed and was #4 entering the DE before a 15-2 win over CSU’s Jamie Gawecki, followed by a pair of key wins over #2 seed Dmitri-Kirk Gordon of OSU (15-13 in DE; 15-11 in final-8) … Kubik’s strong pool bouts shifted his seed from #6 to #3, with his DE bouts including a 15-3 start vs. Detroit’s Andrew Kerbrat … OSU’s Joe Streb upset Kubik twice in last week’s MFC bouting but the ND sophomore turned the tables, with wins over Streb in the Regional DE (15-7) and final-8 (15-7), prior to the loss to Jedrkowiak and a 10-15 semifinal defeat vs. OSU’s Will Jeter … Kirk-Gordon finished 5th (with a 15-5 win over CSU’s Liran Gross) while Streb won his 7th-place bout vs. Detroit’s Craig Budzynski … ND senior Frank Bontempo, who has been battling illness, ending his career with a 10th-place finish while sophomore Alex Grigorenko was 11th.

MEN’S EPEE – Howard was the #3 seed before using his strong pool results to claim the top spot heading into the DE (earning a bye( … he then beat CSU’s Jonathan Bibb (15-6) and edged OSU’s Jason Pryor (15-13) in the round-of-8, followed by losses to WSU’s Petraszek (11-5) and Kostka (14-15) … Kostka’s pool bouts also bumped his seed for the DEs (from #7 to #3), with a 15-6 win over CSU’s Andy Snell then preceding the pair of huge victories over WSU’s Zingerman (15-13 in DE; 15-14 in round-of-8), followed by the loss to OSU’s Mazur (10-15) and the 15-14 win over Howard … Pryor beat his OSU teammate Sean Harder in the 5th-place bout (15-11) while another OSU fencer, Christian Rivera, claimed 7th place with a 15-11 win over Zingerman … ND senior Aaron Adjemian (#8 seed) entered the day with a shot at his third NCAA appearance, finishing 9th … his classmate Patrick Gettings ended his career with an 11th-place finish.

MEN’S SABRE – Thanhouser maintained his #4 seed after the pools and had a bye before having to rally, due to a 9-15 loss to OSU’s Dexter Wilde … he bounced back with a 15-5 win over CSU’s John Downey and edged Wilde in the round-of-8 rematch (15-13), then beating OSU’s Smirnov by the same score and losing the final to Momtselidze (10-15) … Ghattas slipped from a #2 to #3 seed after the pools, adding a pair of wins over his ND classmate Stearns (15-6; 15-14) before the loss to Momtselidze (13-15) and the 3rd-place win over Smirnov (15-11) … Stearns added his 5th-place win over Bradley (15-5) while Detroit’s Jarek Jelinek beat Wilde for 7th place.


WOMEN’S FOIL – 1. Adi Nott (Notre Dame); 2. Samantha Nemecek (Northwestern); 3. Jessica Florendo (Northwestern); 4. Julia Tikhonova (Ohio State); 5. Emilie Prot (Notre Dame); 6. Holly McKibben (Ohio State); 7. Natalie Wang (Northwestern); 8. Meredith Baskies (Northwestern); 9. Lindsey Howard (Wayne State); 10. Courtney Streithorst (Ohio State); 11. Leigh Pendergrass (Cleveland State); 12. Rachel Cota (Notre Dame); 13. Emily Rames (Detroit); 14. Elise Pfaltzgraff (Lawrence).

WOMEN’S EPEE – 1. Kelley Hurley (Notre Dame); 2. Leslie Lampman (Ohio State); 3. Anna Garina (Wayne State); 4. Alexandra Obrazcova (Ohio State); 5. Kayley French (Northwestern); 6. Justyna Konczalska (Wayne State); 7. Christa French (Northwestern); 8. Kim Montoya (Notre Dame); 9. Joanna Niklinska (Northwestern); 10. Amy Orlando (Notre Dame); 11. Elyse Gurnowski (Ohio State); 12. Eleanor Leighton (Notre Dame); 13. Jessica Grasso (Lawrence); 14. Pam Marvinney (Cleveland State); 15. Courtney DuBois (Northwestern); 16. Chiara Terzuolo (Lawrence).

WOMEN’S SABRE – 1. Siobhan Byrne (Ohio State); 2. Eileen Grench (Ohio State; 3. Valerie Providenza (Notre Dame; 4. Syvenna Siebert (Ohio State); 5. Kasia Kuzniak (Wayne State); 6. Ashley Serrette (Notre Dame); 7. Mai Vu (Northwestern); 8. Sophie Eustis (Northwestern); 9. Ann Bartoszewicz (Wayne State; 10. Adrienne Shon (Northwestern); 11. Andrea Hooper (Detroit); 12. Gina Annunziato (Northwestern); 13. Christina Zoccoli (Notre Dame); 14. Alicia Chmielewski (Wayne State); 15. Roberta Sims (Detroit); 16. Erin Housing (Notre Dame).

MEN’S FOIL – 1. Andras Horanyi (Ohio State); 2. Jakub Jedrkowiak (Notre Dame); 3. Will Jeter (Ohio State); 4. Mark Kubik (Notre Dame); 5. Dmitri Kirk-Gordon (Ohio State); 6. Liran Gross (Cleveland State); 7. Joe Streb (Ohio State); 8. Craig Budzynski (Detroit); 9. Mike Merker (Cleveland State); 10. Frank Bontempo (Notre Dame); 11. Alexander Grigorenko (Notre Dame); 12. Jamie Gawecki (Detroit); 13. Stephen Montgomery (Cleveland State); 14. Andrew Kerbrat (Detroit)

MEN’S EPEE – 1. Marek Petraszek (Wayne State); 2. Mykhaylo Mazur (Ohio State); 3. Karol Kostka (Notre Dame); 4. Greg Howard (Notre Dame); 5. Jason Pryor (Ohio State); 6. Sean Harder (Ohio State); 7. Christian Rivera (Ohio State); 8. Slava Zingerman (Wayne State); 9. Aaron Adjemian (Notre Dame); 10. Jonathan Bibb (Cleveland State); 11. Patrick Gettings (Notre Dame); 12. Andy Snell (Cleveland State); 13. Shawn Wright (Cleveland State); 14. Jeff Tormey (Cleveland State); 15. Brian Jones (Detroit); 16. Steve Znoy (Wayne State)

MEN’S SABRE – 1. Mike Momtselidze (Ohio State); 2. Bill Thanhouser (Notre Dame); 3. Patrick Ghattas (Notre Dame); 4. Sergey Smirnov (Ohio State); 5. Matt Stearns (Notre Dame); 6. Ryan Bradley (Notre Dame); 7. Jaroslaw Jelinek (Detroit); 8. Dexter Wilde (Ohio State); 9. Bobby Smith (Wayne State); 10. Jason Paul (Ohio State); 11. John Downey (Cleveland State); 12. Doug Sollman (Detroit); 13. Evangelos Foutris (Detroit).