March 1, 2003
The Notre Dame women’s fencing team repeated as the Midwest Fencing Conference champion but Ohio State used a first-place finish in the men’s competition to edge the Irish for the overall MFC title, with the Buckeyes totaling 855 points to ND’s 835. It marked the first time since 1984 that the Notre Dame men had not claimed the conference title (1984-91, ’98-’02) or helped ND win the combined title (’92-’97, when no trophies were awarded for the men’s and women’s team events).
The Irish women secured their ninth conference title (in 23 tries), with the Notre Dame women also winning MFC titles in 1999 and ’02 while finishing second to Northwestern in 2000 and ’01. The ND women totaled 425 points (to OSU’s 420) but it was not enough to offset the 25-point margin posted by the Buckeye men (who bested ND, 435-310).
The Irish received noteworthy performances from both foil squads. The men’s foil team dominated its competition, culminating in a 5-1 victory over Ohio State. The women appeared just as unstoppable, as they also advanced to the finals to defeat Ohio State (5-3).
The women’s epee squad gave the Irish their third team title with a 5-3 victory over Ohio State in the finals. The men’s epee squad fell to eventual champ Ohio State in the semifinals ( 5-4), before going on to defeat Purdue (5-1) in the consolation bout to finish third.
The men’s sabre squad coasted to the finals after defeating Northwestern (5-1) in the semifinals, but the Irish were defeated by the powerful Ohio State unit (5-1). The ND women’s sabre squad was ousted by Northwestern’s potent squad (5-2), but the Irish went on to defeat Michigan in the finals (5-2).
Sunday’s action includes the individual portion of the Midwest Fencing Conference Championships, starting at 8:00 a.m. (EST).