Mar. 22, 1997

Second Place Notre Dame Gains Ground on Penn State

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The University of Notre Damefencing team climbed fifty points closer to first place on thethird day of the NCAA combined championships. Penn State isstill in first place with 1320 points, the Irish remain in secondplace with 1190 points. St. John’s University is in third placewith 960 points. The third day of competition saw the final inmen’s sabre and the first five rounds of women’s epee and foil.

The Championships are a four day team event that will conclude onSunday, March 23. There are 24 fencers in each weapon, all ofwhom compete in a round-robin competition in their weapon. Eachteam is awarded 10 points for every bout their fencers win. Atthe end of each round-robin, the top four finishers are placed ina single elimination tournament. This tournament decides theNCAA champion of each weapon; there are no team points awarded inthese matches.

Notre Dame sabreman Bill Lester and Luke LaValle compiled 360points for the Irish. Lester, the senior captain, posted a 21-2record and finished third in competition. LaValle had 15victories and 8 losses, this placed him fifth in men’s sabre. Lester and LaValle went 0-4 in their bouts with Penn Statesabremen Sergei Lilov and Brian Walther. Lilov and Waltherfinished second and fourth respectively.

By finishing third Lester became a 1997 first team All-American. Lester was a first team All-American in 1995 and a second teamAll-America in 1996. LaValle, a sophomore, gained All-Americahonors for the second consecutive year. The men’s 1997 sabrechampionship was won by Keeth Smart of St. John’s.

Sophomore foilists and Mishawaka natives, Sara Walsh and MyriahBrown totaled 20 victories in their first five rounds. Walsh,the 1996 NCAA runner-up in women’s foil went 11-3 and iscurrently in fourth place. Brown, who gained All-America honorsin 1996, recorded a 9-5 mark and is currently in sixth place. Stanford University’s Monique DeBruin, sister of former NotreDame All-America epeeist Claudette DeBruin, is in first place ofthe women’s foil competition.

Notre Dame women epeeists Magda Krol and Anne Hoos gathered 16victories for the Irish. Krol, a freshman, is currently insecond place with a 10-4 record. Hoos, the epee captain, went6-8 and is in 19th place. Leading the women’s epee competitionis St. John’s Nicole Dygert.

“We need to be more consistent tomorrow,” said Notre Dame headcoach Yves Auriol. “We beat the top fencers, but we have lostbouts that we should have won.”

“It’s not over, we still have a chance and I’m sure we will give our all,” said Auriol.

The NCAA Championships will conclude tomorrow, Sunday, with thefinals in women’s epee and foil. Notre Dame is trailing PennState by 130 points. The Irish women’s team has eight boutsagainst the Nittany Lions in the final day of the event.