Dec. 5, 2003

NOTRE DAME FENCING NOTES – at Penn State Duals (Dec. 6, 2003)

Fall team fencing continues to be a new reality for Notre Dame’s defending NCAA championship squad, as the Irish return to State College, Pa., this weekend to compete in the Penn State Duals on Sat., Dec. 6 (just two weeks after fencing at the Penn State Open) … the Irish – who opened with unbeaten records at the Northwestern Duals (men 3-0 and women 4-0, on Nov. 14, 16) – traditionally have fenced all of their team competitions during the spring semester but they will head into the Christmas break with several key bouts under their belts (including matchups this weekend vs. Rutgers, UNC, PSU and Princeton).

THE SCHEDULE – Notre Dame will open action at the Penn State Duals on Saturday morning vs. Rutgers (10:00), followed by bouts versus North Carolina (11:30), longtime rival Penn State (1:00) and then Princeton (2:30) … PSU will face NYU and Princeton before tangling with the Irish.

RESULTS – A match report will be available on the ND Sports Hotline (574) 631-3000, then follow the prompts by pressing option “8” and then option “3” … full post-match coverage also will be available at

FAMILIAR FOES – Members of the Notre Dame and Penn State fencing teams will be facing each other for the fourth time in the last 10 months and fifth time in the last 12 months … in addition to the past two Penn State Opens (fall of ’02 and ’03), the other recent ND-PSU showdowns have come at the Notre Dame Duals (Feb. 1, 2003) and the 2003 NCAAs (March 22-23, at Air Force).

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) before the Irish finally returned to the top podium in 2003 (with PSU second) … the series between the ND and PSU men has been tight (the Irish lead 5-4 in the last nine), including a 16-11 ND win in a 2000 meeting at the Joyce Center and last spring’s 15-12 Irish win at the ND Duals … 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 (6-2), including a 21-6 loss in 2000 (plus 15-12 last season) … the PSU women have won the last five 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).

WIN STREAK ON THE LINE – The Notre Dame men – who opened 3-0 at the Northwestern Duals – carry an 83-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).


* Junior foilist Andrea Ament (.936, 87-6) has edged past classmate Alicja Kryczalo (.926, 87-7) with nearly identical career records – with Ament now 3rd on the ND career win pct. list (for all women’s weapons) while Kryczalo is 4th.

* Senior epeeist Kerry Walton remains 8th overall and 1st among ND all-time women’s epeeists with a .902 career win pct. (101-11) … she also ranks 10th in career women’s epee wins, needing 13 more wins to move into 9th on that list.

* Senior sabre Destanie Milo still ranks 21st on the ND list for career win pct. among all women’s weapons (.835, 132-26) and needs 13 more wins to crack that ND top-20 list.

* Fifth-year sabre Natalia Mazur now ranks 12th on the ND overall win pct. list (.867, 91-14).

* Junior epeeist Michael Sobieraj (.938, 76-5) has moved up the 5th in the ND record book for career winning pct. among all men’s weapons (1st among men’s epeeists).

* Fifth-year foilist Forest Walton has moved up to 39th on the ND list for career men’s fencing wins (he needs 17 more wins to crack the ND men’s foil top-10 list).


Overall – Notre Dame returns just six of its 12 fencers (two women’s foil, one each of women’s epee, women’s sabre, men’s foil and men’s epee) who combined to win the 2003 NCAA title while Penn State also likely will have just six of its 11 competitors from the 2003 NCAA runner-up squad (two each of women’s foil, one each of women’s epee, men’s epee, men’s sabre and women’s sabre) … PSU’s pair of ’03 NCAA men’s foilists (Non Panchan and Chris Miller) have not fenced this fall while ND’s Maggie Jordan has returned to foil (she fenced sabre at the ’03 NCAAs) … each of ND’s six returners from the ’03 NCAAs was an All-American (plus one fencer who was an All-American in 2000) while PSU returns five All-Americans from the ’03 NCAAs (plus two others who were All-Americans in ’02 and another who was a ’01 and ’02 AA) … ND’s fencers have combined to win three NCAA titles (plus two runner-up finishes) while the PSU competitors have combined for one NCAA title and two runner-up finishes.

Women’s Foil – There will be plenty of talent on both sides of the foil strip, with ND junior Alicja Kryczalo (Gdansk, Poland) the two-time defending NCAA champ while her classmate Andrea Ament was the 2002 NCAA runner-up and placed third at the ’03 NCAAs … three PSU women’s foilists have fenced in the NCAAs, led by senior and Kryczalo’s countrywoman Marta Grochal (the 2001 NCAA runner-up, plus 9th in ’02) … junior Meredith Chin was 12th at the ’02 NCAAs and 15th in ’03 while sophomore Anna Donath placed 6th at the ’03 NCAAs … PSU’s deep foil squad also includes freshman Sophie Hess, who lost to Kryczalo two weeks ago in the semifinals of the Penn State Open and finished 4th (Kryczalo beat Ament in the PSU Open title bout for her third title at the event, with Chin 5th, Donath 6th and Grochal 8th) … ND’s lineup is rounded out by senior Maggie Jordan (17th in ’01 NCAA foil, 21st in ’03 NCAA sabre) and sophomore Colleen Walsh.

Recent ND-PSU Women’s Foil Results (’02 and ’03 NCAAs and spring ’03 ND Duals)

* Alicja Kryczalo (5-1) – beat Grochal in ’02 NCAAs (5-0) … beat Chin in ’02 NCAAs, ’03 ND Duals and ’03 NCAAs (all 5-1) … lost to Donath at ’03 ND Duals (3-5, ending her 48-bout overall win streak) but won NCAA rematch (5-2).

* Andrea Ament (5-1) – beat Grochal in ’02 NCAAs (5-1) … beat Chin in ’02 NCAAs (5-3), lost to her at ’03 ND Duals (4-5), then won NCAA rematch (5-0) … beat Donath at ’03 ND Duals (5-0) and NCAAs (5-1).

Women’s Epee – Features a showdown of the last two NCAA champs – ND senior Kerry Walton (’03, also 5th in ’02) and PSU sophomore Katarzyna Trzopek (’03), with the runner-up Walton edging 3rd-place Trzopek in the 15-touch semifinal bout at the recent PSU Open (Walton dropped a 5-2 bout to Trzopek in the 2003 NCAA round-robin) … both teams are thin on proven depth at women’s epee, with ND graduating three-time All-Americans Meagan Call (10th at ’03 NCAAs) and Anna Carnick while PSU must replace Jessie Burke (who lost the ’03 title bout to her teammate) … ND’s No. 2 epeeist is promising freshman Amy Orlando (she did not compete at the PSU Open due to a World Cup conflict, in which she placed 8th) … no other PSU women’s epeeists finished among the top 10 at the PSU Open (freshman Katherine Cook was 11th, junior Andrea Wine 18th).

Women’s Sabre – ND senior and three-time NCAA participant Destanie Milo (17th in ’01, 18th in ’02, 6th in ’03) could renew her rivalry with PSU three-time All-American Heather Brosnan (6th in ’01 and ’02, 3rd in ’03), who was one of three PSU women’s sabers who did not fence at the PSU Open (as were freshman Laura Hillstrom and senior Meredith Steyer) … Milo (10th) actually was ND’s fourth finisher at the recent PSU Open, with fifth-year Natalia Mazur (10th at ’00 NCAAs, did not fence in ’02 and ’03) placing 6th while freshmen Valerie Providenza (3rd) and Angela Vincent (4th) reached the semifinals … Brosnan beat Milo at the ’01 (5-0) and ’02 (5-3) NCAAs and again at the ’03 ND Duals (5-3) but Milo scored the key win over Brosnan (5-3) to help the final push to the ’03 NCAA title … both teams are without one of their ’03 NCAA participants in women’s sabre (PSU’s Austin O’Neill and ND’s Maggie Jordan, who has returned to foil).

Men’s Foil – Penn State returned both of its 2003 NCAA competitors – two-time defending champ Non Panchan (also ’01 runner-up) and sophomore Chris Miller (13th) – but neither has yet to fence this fall for PSU (Panchan is training for the Olympics with the Thailand National Team) … PSU junior Ian Schlaepfer was 8th at the 2002 NCAAs and placed 4th at the recent PSU Open (ND junior Derek Snyder was 3rd while freshman Frank Bontempo was 5th and fifth-year Forest Walton 14th) … Schlaepfer beat Snyder (5-4) and Walton (5-3) at the ’03 ND Duals, with Snyder winning an earlier NCAA meeting (5-2 in ’02) … Walton was 14th at the 2000 NCAAs and 9th in ’01.

Men’s Epee – This weapon features a marquee matchup between teammates from the Poland National Epee squad, with ND junior Michal Sobieraj placing 2nd at the 2003 NCAAs (also 10th in ’02) while PSU senior Adam Wiercioch was the 2001 NCAA runner-up, plus 4th in ’02 and 3rd in ’03 … Sobieraj has won his last four matchups with Wiercioch, at the 2002 NCAAs (5-2), the ’03 ND Duals (5-4), the ’03 NCAAs (4-3) and then the ’03 semifinals (15-12) … ND must replace graduated four-time All-American Jan Viviani, with the rest of the current men’s epee roster including seniors North Carey (lost 5-0 to Wiercioch at ’03 ND Duals) and Mike Macaulay and freshmen Aaron Adjemian and Patrick Gettings … Wiercioch won the recent PSU Open, with Adjemian 3rd, Gettings 7th and Sobieraj 9th (PSU sophomore Alexander Bruscke was 11th and junior Ryan Wangner 13th) … PSU junior Ethan Muri fenced at the ’03 ND Duals, losing to Sobieraj (5-4) and beating Carey (5-2).

Men’s Sabre – Penn State has the edge in experience, with senior Amir Rahimi placing 7th at the 2002 NCAAs while sophomore Marten Zagunis was 8th at the ’03 NCAAs … ND must replace graduated All-Americans Gabor Szelle (the 1999 NCAA runner-up and 2000 champ) and Matt Fabricant while PSU is filling the void left by departed world-class sabre Alex Weber (4th in ’03) … ND’s sabre lineup includes highly-touted freshman Patrick Ghattas, who did not fence at the PSU Open due to a World Cup commitment (he is ranked No. 2 among U.S. junior-level men’s sabers and 21st overall among U.S. men’s sabres) – plus his classmate Matthew Stearns, sophomore Nicholas Diacou (who did not fence in the 2003 spring season, after an impressive 10-15 bout vs. Weber at the ’02 PSU Open) and senior captain Brian Dosal … Dosal’s 5-3 win over Zagunis helped lead the win over PSU at the ’03 ND Duals (he also lost a 5-0 bout to Rahimi) … PSU’s depth also includes freshman Ian Farr, who placed 2nd to Zagunis at the recent PSU Open (Stearns was 4th, PSU sophomore Layne Vashro 6th and Rahimi 8th) … Farr and Ghattas were classmates at Oregon Episcopal School and are products of the Oregon Fencing Alliance elite sabre academy.

OTHER TOP FENCERS AT THE PENN STATE DUALS – Notre Dame will face several other top fencers in Saturday’s action:

* The Princeton women will pose several challenges, including epeeists Eleanor Leighton (7th at ’03 NCAAs) and Kira Hohonosee (15th), foilists Jacqueline Leahy (7th) and Mindy Rostal (9th and sabre Catherine Pack (13th at ’03 NCAAs).

* The Princeton men include epeeist Benjamin Solomon (5th at ’03 NCAAs) and foilists Eric Stodola (18th) and Jon Lew-Jim (23rd).

* The Rutgers men include foilists Ronald Brooks (17th at ’03 NCAAs) and Jesse Schiblia (19th and epeeist Brian Garrett (13th) while the RU women include Joanna Szklarska (22nd) and epeeist Rebecca Kehoe (23rd).

* UNC men’s sabre Wesley Newkirk placed 20th at the 2003 NCAAs.


(records indicate 2003 fall won-lost marks … and then career won-loss)

Women’s Foil (24-12)

Alicja Kryczalo (jr.; Gdansk, Poland; cpt.) – 8-2 … 87-7 career (.926; 4th ND history)

Andrea Ament (jr.; Gates Mill, OH) – 8-1 … 87-6 career (.936; 3rd ND history

Maggie Jordan (sr.; Maplewood, NJ) – 4-0 (sabre) … 142-41 career (.776; 57-19/.750 in foil)

Colleen Walsh (so.; Monticello, IL) – 4-8 … 29-11 career (.725)

Beth Emilian (sr.; Fort Wayne, IN) – 1-1 … 23-8 career (.742)

Women’s Epee (19-17)

Kerry Walton (sr.; Londonderry, NH; cpt.) – 8-1 … 101-11 career (.902; 8th ND history/1st among women’s epeeists)

Amy Orlando (fr.; Brookline, MA) – 4-6

Rebecca Chimahusky (so.; Bartlesville, OK) – 5-7 … 25-12 career (.676)

Jocelyn Landgraf (so.; West Hills, CA) – 1-1 … 16-10 career (.615)

Women’s Sabre (32-4)

Destanie Milo (sr.; Knox, IN) – 6-2 … 132-26 career (.835; 21st in ND history)

Natalia Mazur (sr.; Summit, NJ) – 3-1 … 91-14 career (.867; 12th in ND history)

Valerie Providenza (fr.; Beaverton, OR) – 7-0

Angela Vincent (fr.; Lake Oswego, OR) – 8-1

Danielle Davis (sr.; Grand Rapids, MI) – 4-0 … 54-25 career (.684)

Men’s Foil (24-3)

Derek Snyder (jr.; Chatsworth, CA) – 5-1 … 71-14 career (.835)

Forest Walton (sr.; Londonderry, NH; cpt.) – 5-0 … 120-28 career (.811; 39th on ND career wins list)

Frank Bontempo (fr.; Pittsburgh, PA) – 8-0

Matt Castellan (sr.; Short Hills, NJ) – 2-1 … 38-15 career (.717)

Eamon Murphy (fr.; Winnetka, IL) – 4-1

Men’s Epee (25-2)

Michael Sobieraj (jr.; Krakow, Poland) – 6-0 … 76-5 career (.938; 5th in ND history)

Aaron Adjemian (fr.; El Paso, TX) – 6-0

North Carey (sr.; Los Alamos, NM) – 6-0 … 34-17 career (.667)

Michael Macaulay (sr.; Temple, TX) – 3-0 … 36-15 career (.706)

Patrick Gettings (fr.; Lake Forest, IL) – 2-2

Men’s Sabre (25-2)

Patrick Ghattas (fr.; Beaverton, OR) – 8-0

Matthew Stearns (fr.; Minnetrista, MN) – 7-0

Nicholas Diacou (so.; New York, NY) – 0-0

Brian Dosal (sr.; Miami, FL) – 0-0 … 35-19 career (.648)

John Espinosa (jr.; Plantation, FL) – 5-0 … 18-5 career (.783)


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 first rounds of competition at the Notre Dame Duals.

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. PSU, including Snyder’s nip-and-tuck victory over defending NCAA champ Non Panchan (5-4) and Fabricant’s win by the same score vs. 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 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 the 2003 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 the 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.