The Penn fencing teams made Saturday a long day at the MAC for both Harvard squads.
The undefeated Penn team proved too much for the Harvard men's fencing team at the MAC Saturday. The Crimson lost in all three weapon categories by a total score of 21-6, while the Harvard women's team followed suit, 12-4. Later in the day, the women's team fell by the same score to Fairleigh Dickinson.
Against the more confident and aggressive Quakers, the Crimson men's team (0-4 Ivy) seemed to have its backs against the wall. In sabre and epee, Penn thoroughly dominated their hosts, 8-1.
In sabre, only Nathan Schmulewitz was able to win a bout in the second round. In epee, Harvard barely managed to win a point--after losing the first six bouts--when Edward Naidich won his third bout.
In foil, the score was a little closer. After falling behind, 2-1, early, Harvard's Gideon Yaffe and Chris Okumura each managed to win his bout. The next two, however, were won by the Quakers. Adam Sussman tied the match, 4-4, in the eighth bout by coming back from a 4-1 deficit to win. Unfortunately, in a close bout, Gideon Yaffe lost the final bout, 5-3.
Yet Harvard had no reason to celebrate its less embarrassing loss in foil. Penn's number-one and two foil-fencers, Al Carter and Al Weber, were unable to make Saturday's trip due to academic reasons.
"We were expecting to do better than that," Harvard coach Branimir Zivkovic said. Zivkovic, while not being surprised about the result, mentioned his team's lack of experience and lack of practice during the exam period.
Asked about his team's success on Saturday as well as in previous weeks, Penn Coach David Micahnik agreed that his team had an advantage in terms of experience: "Most of our fencers have fair amounts of experience. Even the younger ones have been actively competing outside of college."
Micahnik also explained that Penn's schedule gives them the edge it needs. "We scheduled the hardest schedule we can manage," said Micahnik, referring to his team's more demanding schedule than Harvard's. The Quakers fenced against MIT and Brandeis in addition to Harvard Saturday. Last week, they faced Yale, Penn St. and Duke on the same day.
"We did not expect to lose," said Penn Captain Tom Wroth, who expects his squad to challenge Columbia's streak of six consecutive Ivy League titles. "Fencer to fencer, we are a much stronger team."
Harvard Captain Peter Einaudi feels that Penn has a chance of winning the title.
"They are a very good team," Einaudi said. "They, I think, have a 50 percent chance of winning the Ivy title. They're very strong in all three weapons."
Meanwhile, the Harvard women's team lost, 12-4, to both Penn and Fairleigh Dickinson.
Harvard Captain Amy Neuhardt blamed the losses on lack of depth. As with the men, with a freshman and a sophomore in the starting lineup, the Crimson (2-2 Ivy) could not complete with the much older and experienced Penn and Fairleigh Dickinson lineups.
Falling behind, 6-1, against Penn, the Crimson managed to win only three of the next nine bouts. Neuhardt won two bouts, while fellow senior Michelle Kosch and sophomore Susan Chan each won one.
Against Fairleigh Dickinson, which fell to Penn in a tiebreaker, Neuhardt and Kosch each won two bouts.
THE NOTEBOOK:Both teams face MIT and Navy next week at the MAC. They need to beat MIT to qualify for the IFA Regionals in two weeks.