The varsity fencing team walloped an unimpressive Brandeis squad 18-9 yesterday evening at the IAB. The victory raised the Crimson's record to a formidable 9-2.
After pondering the question whether there were any surprises in the Brandeis match, Coach Branimar Zivkovic replied, "It was raining outside."
Four of the team's regular starters did not wield their weapons against the Judges. The number one and two foil men, co-captain John Major and Gene Vastola, watched the contest from the gallery as did number one saber man John Chipman. Epee man Chris Jenning took the night off as well.
"They needed the rest," Zivkovic said. "This way they can watch the competition and adjust their thinking and contemplate what they would do in a particular situation."
Harvard's saber unit fought Brandeis most effectively by trouncing the visitors 7-2. Sophomore Michael Bierer ruined two opponents, 5-1 and 5-2, but lost a close duel to the Judges' number one saber man, Steve Pearlman, 3-5.
Senior Russell Ellis, who does not normally fence in the top three, fought in the number two spot and craftily cut down his three foes, 5-2, 5-3 and 5-4, Ellis handed Pearlman his only defeat of the contest.
At number three saber position, sophomore Russell Graham blasted to two wins, 5-1 and 5-3, but fell to Pearlman 3-5 in the first round.
At epee, co-captain Matt Simmons pierced two opponents. Robert Kaplan fenced the third bout in Simmons' place but lost 3-5. Eric Read, at number two epee, also fought to two victories. Bob Barger replaced Read in the third round and fell to Brandeis's epee man Keith Ellis, 3-5. Bob Tillman battled at number three epee to a 2-1 record for the match. Tillman lost only to Ellis, 1-5.
The Crimson's foil squad of regular Eric Mandelbaum and a pair of substitutions, David McClees and Jai Rho, edged the Judges 5-4. McClees won two duels but dropped his third bout to Brandeis' number one foil man Scott Strenger, 1-5. Mandelbaum also downed two foes, yet failed against Strenger, who was 3-0 for the match.
The freshman Rho won one duel 5-3 and lost twice. This is Rho's first year of fencing. "I picked him up in a physical education class. He was fencing recreationally I told him to come out. He has good moves. By his junior year I hope he will be ready to fence nicely," Zivkovic said.
The fencers battle Yale this Saturday at the IAB. Yale is 2-2 in the Ivy League and the Crimson are 3-1. A victory against the Elis will insure Harvard a piece of the Ivy crown. "We will need a strong performance in all three weapons to beat Yale," Mandelbaum said.
The swordsmen journey to New York City for the ECAC championships at Columbia, March 11th and 12th.