Jan. 30, 2003

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A showdown between top-ranked Penn State and No. 2 Notre Dame will serve as the highlight matchup at this weekend’s Notre Dame Collegiate Fencing Duals (Feb. 1-2), a 10-team tournament to be held in the Joyce Center Fieldhouse … Notre Dame will tangle with its longtime rival and defending NCAA champion Penn State on Saturday at 11:00 a.m., with the Irish also slated to face UC San Diego (8:00 a.m.), Air Force (9:30), Detroit (12:30) and Northwestern (2:00, with the Wildcat women ranked 7th) during the first-day action … the tournament also includes fourth-ranked Ohio State, Cal State Fullerton and Lawrence University … eight of the 10 teams will compete on Sunday, with Penn State and Ohio State fencing only on the first day (those national powers will face off on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.) … Saturday will provide the first ND-PSU matchup since 2000, with the Nittany Lions pulling out of the 2002 Ohio State Duals (where they were slated to face the Irish).


Saturday, Feb. 1 (Joyce Center Fieldhouse)

8:00 a.m. – ND vs. UC San Diego … Air Force vs. Northwestern … Wayne State vs. Penn State … Ohio State vs. Cal St. Fullerton … Detroit vs. Lawrence

9:30 a.m. – ND vs. AFA … NW vs. PSU … WSU vs. CSF … OSU vs. LAW … DET vs. UCSD

11:00 a.m. – ND vs. PSU … AFA vs. CSF … NW vs. LAW … WSU vs. UCSD … OSU vs. DET

12:30 p.m. – ND vs. DET … AFA vs. PSU … NW vs. CSF … WSU vs. LAW … OSU vs. UCSD

2:00 p.m. – ND vs. NW … AFA vs. WSU … OSU vs. PSU … DET vs. CSF … UCSD vs. LAW

3:30 p.m. – PSU vs. CSF … AFA vs. OSU

Sunday, Feb. 2 (Joyce Center Fieldhouse)

8:00 a.m. – ND vs. CSF … AFA vs. UCSD … NW vs. CSF

9:30 a.m. – ND vs. WSU … AFA vs. DET … LAW vs. CSF

11:00 a.m. – AFA vs. LAW … NW vs. UCSD … WSU vs. DET

12:30 p.m. – ND vs. LAW … NW vs. WSU

THE ND-PSU RIVALRY: Notre Dame claimed its fifth NCAA title in ’94 before finishing third in ’95 and as NCAA runner-up to Penn State every year from 1996-2000 … the 2001 NCAAs saw St. John’s edge PSU and ND for the title, with the Nittany Lions regaining the title in ’02 (SJU was second, ND third) … the ND and PSU men have split eight previous dual-meet matchups, including a 16-11 Irish win in a 2000 meeting at the Joyce Center … the PSU men had won the previous three meetings (14-13 at PSU in ’99, 17-10 at ND in ’98, 16-11 at PSU), with the Irish winning the only 1980s matchup (14-13, at UNC in ’86) after wins over PSU in 1979 (17-10, at OSU) and 1975 (at PSU) … the Notre Dame women trail the all-time series vs. Penn State (5-2), including a 21-6 loss in 2000 … the PSU women have won the last four vs. ND (also 23-9 at PSU in ’99, 17-15 at ND in ’98, 18-14 at PSU in ’97), with the Irish winning 11-5 in ’86 (at UNC) and losing 12-4 in ’77 (at PSU).

STREAK ON THE LINE: The Notre Dame men – who opened 6-0 at last week’s Ohio State Duals, including a 16-11 win over the Buckeyes – carry a 65-match regular-season winning streak into the weekend action, dating back to a pair of loses at the 2000 season-opening NYU Duals (16-11 vs. St. John’s and 14-13 vs. Stanford) … ND’s only loss of 1999 came in a 14-13 decision at Penn State (decided on the last bout) … the current winning streak ranks third-longest in ND men’s fencing history, behind a 122-match streak from 1975-80 and a 98-match winning streak in the late 1980s (’84-’88).

LOCAL LEADERS: The Irish women, who went 5-1 last week at OSU, will be looking for the return of junior sabre captain and local product Destanie Milo (Knox/Culver Academy), who missed the season-opening tournament due to illness … senior epee captain and three-time All-American Anna Carnick (Mishawaka) also is a product of the Indiana Fencing Academy and is one of six members of the Irish women’s team who have posted All-America finishes at previous NCAAs.

RANKED TEAMS AT THE JOYCE: In addition to top-ranked Penn State, No. 2 Notre Dame and fourth-ranked Ohio State, other teams in the ND Duals who were ranked in the U.S. Fencing Coaches Association preseason coaches poll include Northwestern (7th in women’s poll), Air Force (14th-most votes in men’s poll) and Wayne State (16th-most votes in men’s poll).


* The ND Duals tournament field includes 43 individuals who have competed in past NCAA Championships, led by 28 who have earned All-America honors and five former NCAA individual champions: Penn State senior women’s epeeist Jessie Burke (2000 champ) and junior men’s foilist Nontapat Panchan (’02) and the Notre Dame trio of senior men’s sabre Gabor Szelle (2000), junior women’s epeeist Kerry Walton (’02) and sophomore foilist Alicja Kryczalo (’02).

* Seven of the competitors also are past NCAA runner-ups, including ND’s Szelle (’99) and PSU’s Panchan (’01), plus Notre Dame senior men’s foilist Ozren Debic (’00, also 5th in ’01, 4th in ’02) and sophomore women’s foilist Andrea Ament (’02), Ohio State sophomore women’s sabre Louise Bond-Williams (’02) and PSU veterans Adam Wiercioch (’01 men’s epee, also 4th in ’02) and Marta Grochal (’01 women’s foil).

* Other top fencers include ND senior men’s epee captain Jan Viviani (the NCAA third-place finisher in 2000 and ’01, plus fifth in ’02) and his longtime rival Seth Kelsey of Air Force, who has finished ninth, sixth and third (’02) in the last three NCAAs … Ohio State’s contingent also includes sophomore men’s sabre Jason Rogers (the 2002 third-place NCAA finisher) twin foilists Hanna (third ’02 NCAAs) and Metta (fifth) Thompson.

SCOUTING THE IRISH: Notre Dame returned 10 of 12 competitors (eight of them All-Americans) from its group of 2002 NCAA competitors that claimed a third-place national finish, with the top losses to graduation including All-America sabres Andre Crompton and Carianne McCullough … the Irish has significant depth at several weapons in 2003, with 12 veterans having combined for 29 previous All-America finishes at the NCAAs … leading the way among the returners are a trio of three-time All-Americans – women’s epee captain Anna Carnick, men’s foil captain Ozren Debic and men’s epee captain Jan Viviani.

DEPTH CHARGES: The Irish depth in 2003 includes three former All-Americans at three different weapons: men’s foil, women’s epee and women’s foil (teams can qualify a maximum of two fencers per weapon for the NCAAs) … senior foilist Forest Walton (9th-place All-American in ’01, after placing 14th in ’00) has returned after studying abroad in 2002, combining with senior captain Ozren Debic (2000 NCAA runner-up, 5th in ’01, 4th in ’02) and sophomore Derek Snyder (7th in ’02) to give the Irish three All-America men’s foilists for 2003 … others who have posted All-American finishes at some point in their careers include the women’s foil trio of sophomores Alicja Kryczalo (2002 NCAA champ) and Andrea Ament (2002 NCAA runner-up) and senior captain Liza Boutsikaris (12th in 2000, 16th in ’01) … the women’s epee All-Americans are led by seniors Anna Carnick (9th, 12th and 10th at 2000-02 NCAAs) and Meagan Call (12th in ’00, 5th in ’01), plus junior Kerry Walton (’02 NCAA champ) … senior captain Jan Viviani (3rd at the 2000 and ’01 NCAAs, 5th in ’02) and sophomore Michal Sobieraj (10th in ’02) form one of the nation’s top men’s epee tandems … three members of the Irish sabre squads – senior Matt Fabricant (’02), junior Destanie Milo (’01, ’02) and her classmate Maggie Jordan (’01) – also have past experience competing at the NCAAs (Jordan doing so in foil).

SABRE A QUESTION MARK: The Notre Dame men’s and women’s teams boast a combined five former All-Americans in epee and six in foil – with senior Gabor Szelle representing the only sabre All-American on the current Irish squads … senior Matt Fabricant competed in the 2002 NCAAs while junior women’s sabre captain Destanie Milo was a 2001 and ’02 NCAA participant … Milo was a late scratch for last week’s Ohio State Duals (due to illness; she is expected to return for the ND Duals), with her classmate Maggie Jordan looking to pick up the slack … Jordan fenced in the 2001 NCAA foil competition before shifting to sabre in 2002 (when Milo and ’02 graduate Carianne McCullough were ND’s NCAA representatives).

SCOUTING THE NITTANY LIONS: Penn State returns nine All-Americans from its 2002 NCAA runner-up squad but likely will be competing without men’s sabre Alex Weber, the 2002 NCAA fourth-place finisher who is competing at a World Cup event … other top returners for the PSU men include 2002 NCAA foil champ Nontapat Panchan (also 2001 runner-up), junior epeeist Adam Wiercioch (2nd at 2001 NCAAs, 4th in ’02), junior sabre Amir Rahimi (7th in ’02, 8th in ’01) and sophomore foilist Ian Schlaepfer (8th in ’02) … the PSU women are led by junior foilists Marta Grochal (2001 NCAA runner-up, 9th in ’02), sophomore Meredith Chin (12th in ’02), senior epeeist Jessie Burke (2000 NCAA champ, 5th in ’02) and junior sabre Heather Brosnan (6th in ’01 and ’02) … PSU is looking to fill the gaps left by the departure of three All-Americans: ’02 NCAA women’s epee runner-up Stephanie Eim, men’s epeeist Daniel Landgren (12th) and women’s sabre Stephanie Tam (9th) … top newcomers include Katarzyna Trzopek (women’s foil) and Marten Zagunis (men’s sabre, finished second to Weber at the PSU Open last fall).

ND-PSU HEAD-TO-HEAD AT THE NCAAs: Here’s a look at how the current Notre Dame and Penn State fencers have fared versus each other at the NCAA Championships:

2002 (at Drew University; Madison, N.J.)

Men’s Epee – Jan Viviani (ND) def. Adam Wiercioch (PSU), 5-4; Michal Sobieraj (ND) def. Wiercioch, 5-2

Women’s Epee – Jessie Burke (PSU) def. Anna Carnick (ND), 5-4; Burke def. Kerry Walton (ND), 5-3

Men’s Foil – Nontapat Panchan (PSU) def. Ozren Debic (ND), 5-0; Panchan def. Derek Snyder (ND), 5-2

Men’s Foil – Debic (ND) def. Ian Schlaepfer (PSU), 5-0; Schlaepfer (PSU) def. Snyder (ND), 5-2

Women’s Foil – Alicja Kryczalo (ND) def. Marta Grochal (PSU), 5-1; Andrea Ament (ND) def. Grochal, 5-0

Men’s Sabre – Mohaymen Rahimi (PSU) def. Matt Fabricant (ND), 5-3

Women’s Sabre – Heather Brosnan (PSU) def. Destanie Milo (ND), 5-3

2001 (at Wisconsin-Parkside)

Men’s Epee – Viviani (ND) def. Wiercioch (PSU), 5-3

Women’s Epee – Burke (PSU) def. Carnick (ND), 5-3; Burke (PSU) def. Meagan Call (ND), 5-3

Men’s Foil – Panchan (PSU) def. Debic (ND), 5-2; Panchan def. Forest Walton (ND), 5-2

Women’s Foil – Grochal (PSU) def. Liza Boutsikaris (ND), 5-2

Women’s Sabre – Heather Brosnan (PSU) def. Destanie Milo (ND), 5-0

OTHER ND DUALS FENCERS OF NOTE: In addition to those mentioned in the above notes, 16 other fencers in the Notre Duals have past NCAA Tournament experience:

* Air Force senior epeeists Elia Burrill finished 19th, 12th and 16th at the 2000-02 NCAAs, senior sabre Andrea Rix was 23rd in ’02, senior saber Jared Parks 23rd in ’01 and senior foilist Chris Jones 20th in ’00.

* Ohio State’s other top returners include junior women’s epeeist Alexandra Shklar and junior men’s sabre Colin Parker (both were 6th at the ’01 NCAAs, 8th in ’02), men’s foilist Nathan Weir (15th in ’02 and epeeists Brian Gross and Spencer Jones (15th and 16th, respectively, at the ’02 NCAAs).

* The Northwestern women – who must replace NCAA veterans Kate Rudkin (epee) and Kristen Dorf (foil) – are led by sophomore foilist Julia Foldi and sophomore sabre Lauren Dunn (both 8th at 2002 NCAAs).

* Wayne State senior foilist Inga Wallrabenstein – who swept Ohio State twins Hanna and Metta Thompson at last week’s OSU Duals – was 5th at the 2001 NCAAs (6th in ’02) while sophomore Wojciech Dudek was 17th in the ’02 NCAA men’s epee competition and sophomore Anna Vinnikov was 13th in men’s epee.

* Cal State Fullerton’s Roland Breden posted an All-America finish at the 2002 NCAAs (12th) while women’s foilist Christy Stewart was 23rd.

STRONG FOIL FIELD: The ND Duals serve as a reunion for many top contenders in the 2002 NCAA women’s foil competition, as seven of the top-nine finishers are slated to be on hand: ND sophomores Alicja Kryczalo and Andrea Ament (the 2002 NCAA champ and runner-up), Ohio State sophomores Hanna (3rd) and Metta (5th) Thompson, Wayne State senior Inga Wallrabenstein (6th, also 5th in ’01), Northwestern sophomore Julia Foldi (8th) and Penn State junior Marta Grochal (9th, also ’01 runner-up) … a total of nine of the 24 fencers from the 2002 NCAA women’s foil competition could be in action at the Joyce Center this weekend, the others including PSU sophomore Meredith Chin (12th) and Cal State Fullerton’s Christy Stewart (23rd).

RENEWING A RIVALRY: Notre Dame’s Jan Viviani and Air Force’s Seth Kelsey have faced each other in countless bouts on the national, international and collegiate level, with each earning All-America honors at the 2000, ’01 and ’02 NCAAs (Viviani was 3rd, 3rd and 5th at the ’00-’02 NCAAs while Kelsey was 9th, 6th and 3rd) … Viviani beat Kelsey at the 2002 Air Force Duals (5-2) and again at the ’02 NCAAs (5-4) … Kelsey won a 1-0 overtime bout vs. Viviani at the ’01 NCAAs, with Viviani winning the 2000 NCAA matchup (5-2).

KRYCZALO KEEPS CRANKING: Notre Dame sophomore women’s foilist Alicja Kryczalo continued her domination of collegiate fencing by winning all nine of her bouts at last week’s Ohio State Duals, boosting her career regular-season record with the Irish to 48-2 (103-3 in overall college bouts) … Kryczalo heads into the ND Duals with wins in 85 of her last 86 bouts, including a perfect 25-0 sweep through the 2002 NCAAs (when she finished +100 in her 23 five-touch round-robin bouts, followed by 15-5 and 15-6 wins in the NCAA semi’s and final) … her only losses have come vs. Irina Khouade of St. John’s (at the NYU Duals), vs. former Stanford great Iris Zimmerman (5-2, at the Air Force Duals) and vs. Ohio State’s Hanna Thompson at the Midwest Regional Championship (she quickly avenged that loss with a 5-3 fenceoff win at the Regional).


* Notre Dame’s 16-11 win over the Ohio State men the matchup tied (11-11) heading into the final five bouts – with all three Irish epeeists (junior North Carey, senior Jan Viviani and sophomore Michael Sobieraj) then closing with victories, as did sophomore Derek Snyder and senior Ozren Debic in the final foil bouts.

* The ND men’s foilists (8-1) led the way in the win over OSU, with the Buckeyes owning a similar margin in men’s sabre (7-2) while the Irish won six of nine men’s epee bouts. * Senior sabre Gabor Szelle won 11 of 13 bouts in his first action with the Irish since 2001 while senior foilist Forest Walton went 16-1 in his return … Debic and Snyder (both 13-0) combined with junior Matt Castellan (8-2) to round out a dominating 51-2 showing by the Irish men’s foilists.

* Carey won eight of 10 bouts in his debut with the Irish while senior sabre Matt Fabricant went 11-2 and junior Brian Dosal was 9-4 in his first ND bouts.

* Top ND performers on the women’s side included junior epeeist Kerry Walton (14-0), senior epeeists Anna Carnick (14-1) and Meagan Call (11-2), senior foilist Liza Boutsikaris (9-2) and sophomore foilists Alicja Kryczalo (9-0) and Andrea Ament (9-2).

* The absence of junior women’s sabre captain Destanie Milo hampered the Irish in their 15-12 loss to Ohio State (ND went just 1-8 in sabre bouts vs. OSU but a combined 11-7 in the other weapons). Juniors Maggie Jordan (13-2) and Danielle Davis (11-4) posted solid all-around records at the OSU Duals.


* Senior sabre Gabor Szelle (145-10) enters the ND Duals ranked 17th on the ND list for career men’s fencing wins (among all weapons; 8th among sabres), with the chance to climb as high as 7th on that list by adding 16 wins this weekend … he stands just one win behind former foil greats Pat Gerard (’78) and Yehuda Kovacs (’89), two behind sabre Chris Hajnik (’95), five back of former sabre teammate Andre Crompton (’02) and seven behind another former sabre teammate Andrzej Bednarski (’02) … others within range of Szelle on that list are foilist Stephane Auriol (’99; 154), epeeists Grzegorz Wozniak (’94; 154), Brian Casas (’02; 156) and Tim Glass (’77; 160) and sabre Mike Janis (’85; 161) … Szelle’s .936 career winning pct. ranks 5th in the ND record book (among all weapons).

* Senior epeeist Jan Viviani (129-15) is 27th on the ND men’s fencing wins list, with the chance to vault as high as 13th after this weekend’s action … Viviani’s .895 career winning pct. remains best ever by an ND men’s epeeist (11th among all weapons) … Viviani ranks 9th in the ND record book for men’s epee wins, just two behind David Calderhead (’92), four back of Andy Quaroni (’85) and seven shy of Ed Fellows (’77).

* Senior foilist Ozren Debic (127-7) stands 31st on the wins list (could move up as high as 14th) while his .948 career win pct. trails only sabres Leszek Nowosielski (.980, 97-2; ’88-’91) and Mike Sullivan (.979, 183-4; ’76-’79) in ND men’s fencing history … Debic needs two wins to crack the ND list for career men’s foil wins and needs just 19 more wins to move up to third on that list.

* Senior sabre Matt Fabricant (113-19) is 44th on the wins list (could rise to 24th) and ranks 27th in career winning pct. (.856).

* Senior foilist Forest Walton (86-20) is on the verge of becoming the 58th all-time Notre Dame men’s fencer with 100-plus wins.

* Senior epeeist Anna Carnick (154-37) ranks 14th on the ND list for career women’s fencing wins (all weapons), just behind foilists Kathy Valdiserri (’78, 157), Cindy Weeks (’87, 159), Anne Barreda (’01, 159) and Molly Sullivan (’88, 160) … her 154 wins rank 6th all-time among ND women’s epeeists, behind Ashley Shannon (’94, 157), Magda Krol (’99, 167), Colleen Smerek (’97, 170), Nicole Mustilli (’99, 235) and Anne Hoos (’98, 313), while her .806 career winning pct. is 4th all-time among ND women’s epeeists behind Hoos (.817), Mustilli (.855) and Krol (.888).

* Senior epeeist Meagan Call (144-45) now is 19th on the ND women’s fencing victories list, narrowly trailing foilists Susan Valdiserri (’83, 145), Maria Panyi (’95, 146) and Heidi Piper (’92, 152) and epeeist Ashley Shannon (’96, 149).

* Senior foilist Liza Boutsikaris (140-30) is 22nd on the victories list (needing 12 to crack the top-10 of the ND women’s foil victories list) and ranks 16th for career winning pct. among all weapons (.824).

* Junior sabre Destanie Milo (86-19, .819) ranks 18th on the ND career winning pct. list for all women’s weapons.

* Several of ND’s current second-year fencers are on their way to joining the above fencers with their own impressive career records, including: women’s foilists Alicja Kryczalo (48-2) and Andrea Ament (37-4), men’s foilist Derek Snyder (45-7) and men’s epeeist Michal Sobieraj (37-1).