Feb. 22, 2015
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The University of Notre Dame men’s and women’s fencing teams participated in the first ACC Fencing Conference Championships since 1980 this weekend, with both the men’s and women’s teams winning the team competitions. The women’s title stands as the first ever ACC Women’s Fencing Conference Championship ever held.
Sunday morning, the Irish posted 19-8 marks against Boston College and Duke, before going on to beat hosts North Carolina 24-3. After a brief lunch break, the individual weapons class competitions began. Notre Dame again exerted its dominance early on, with multiple entrants advancing into the direct elimination rounds in each weapon.
In foil, top-seed Lee Kiefer finished with an undefeated 15-0 record in pool play. She was followed by Madison Zeiss and Nicole McKee, both of whom sported 13-2 marks, and Sarah Followill, who finished 11-4. In the semifinals, it was an all-Notre Dame affair, as Kiefer beat Followill 15-5 and McKee beat Zeiss, 15-11. Zeiss went on to finish in third, besting Followill 15-5 in a fence-off. Kiefer and McKee went on to square off for the weapon title, with Kiefer again emerging on top, 15-4. She also earned the Team MVP award for her impressive performance on the day.
In epee, Catherine Lee had the best record for the Irish with her 13-2 mark in the pools. Captains Nicole Ameli and Ashley Severson both posted 10-5 records, with all three advancing to the semifinals. Ameli beat Lee 15-11 in the semis, while Severson ousted Boston College’s Olivia Adragna 15-10. Adragna and Lee faced each other to determine the third-place winner, with Adragna emerging victorious, 15-14. In the title bout, Ameli beat Severson, 15-7.
The Irish struggled in the women’s sabre event, despite freshmen Claudia Kulmacz, Francesca Russo and Jamie Norville logging matching 12-3 records after pool play. To advance in to the direct elimination round, the decision came down to indicators; Kulmacz advanced outright with a +34 indicator, yet between Norville and Russo – tied with matching records and matching indicators – it came down to total touches scored. Norville earned the go-ahead with 68 touches scored versus Russo’s 67.
In the semifinals, Kulmacz beat Duke’s Haley Fisher 15-13, but was out-scored by North Carolina’s Jillian Litynski, 15-6 in the final bout. Norville, after earning the edge over Russo, was beat 15-11 by Litynski in the semis and finished third when Fisher withdrew.
The Irish are next in action for the NCAA Midwest Regional, held March 7 at Northwestern University – a familiar competition venue for the Irish who have already visited Evanston, Ill. once so far this season.
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