Nov. 16, 2013
NOTRE DAME, IND. – After traveling to the Buckeye State twice for exhibition matches, the time had come for the University of Notre Dame to host its own exhibition fencing meet and show off the Castellan Family Fencing Center, newly rededicated and blessed two weeks ago.
Offering foam sabres and free pizza to entice a large crowd of 414 plus, fans filled the bleachers and cheered on the Fighting Irish women’s fencers as they combatted the Northwestern Wildcats. The Irish claimed weapons titles in foil and sabre, and out-touched Northwestern in a race to 60 touches (points).
The first weapon up was epee, and in the morning round robin session Ashley Severson and Nicole Ameli claimed the first and second seeds. Severson had a 10-1 record with a +20 indicator, while Ameli was close behind with an 8-3 mark and +18.
In the afternoon direct elimination session, teammates Catherine Lee and Eva Niklinska battled each other with Niklinska advancing 15-8. She continued on to face another Irish teammate, losing to Ameli 10-9. Ameli faced off with Dina Bazarbayeva -who had just defeated Severson 15-11- in the final bout, wining 15-10.
In sabre, freshman Allison Barry held her own with a +2 indicator, which was enough for her to advance into the direct elimination rounds with the No. 4 seed. Irish sabreuse Johanna Thill claimed the No. 2 seed with an 8-0 record and +20 indicator.
Barry destroyed her competition in the direct elimination bouts by defeating Emily Comstock and Hee Kyung Oh with back-to-back scores of 15-10. Thill defeated Cara Franke 15-6 before squaring off with Anna Parzecki. She out-dueled Parzecki 15-9, and went on to face off with Barry. The two irish sabreurs traded touches back and forth before Thill went up and continued on to win, 15-11.
To perhaps no one’s surprise, sophomore Olympic foilist Lee Kiefer completed pool play undefeated, with a +58 indicator. Following closely behind was Adriana Camacho with an 11-3 mark (+26 indicator), Nicole McKee (11-3, +24), and Kiefer’s 2013 NCAA teammate Madison Zeiss, who finished the morning with a 10-4 record. Sarah Followill rounded out the Irish bunch with a 7-7 mark, claiming No. 6 seed.
In the direct elimination bouts, Followill defeated the No. 11 seed Kimberly Fishman 15-8, before being out-touched by McKee 11-6. McKee went on to out-duel Camacho, 10-9, but lost in the final to Kiefer 15-6, who had just won the semifinal bout against Zeiss 15-6.
In the evening team competition, Notre Dame won the coin toss, and elected for the sabre weapon to begin the race. Northwestern then chose foil, with epee closing out the night.
Sabreuses Grace Montemurro, Victoria Sluka, Barry and Thill all won their bouts, earning the Irish 20 points right off the bat. In foil, Camacho was out-dueled by Mikela Goldstein before Zeiss won her bout with Mary Spohn, 9-1. McKee continued the winning streak 5-2, with Kiefer winning the final bout 5-1. The epee squad sealed the win, with a Notre Dame victory 60-42.
“Today was a great day, an impressive day. Sabre impressed us as coaches very much, coming back from an early deficit to win,” Irish head coach Janusz Bednarski said when asked how the day went.
Bednarski continued, “Not only did the individual results help, but the type of competition we proposed helped to draw the crowd in too. It’s exciting for the sport of fencing, to see young people packing in to the stands to cheer and learn about such a unique sport. It’s exciting to see what lays ahead.”
While the fall exhibition schedule is now concluded for the Irish, stay tuned for a winter competition schedule to be released. For news on Notre Dame’s Fencers, stay tuned to und.com/fencing.