"We just don't fence well at noon," was one of the explanations that Harvard fencing Coach Branimir Zivkovic gave for the Harvard men's fencing team's results this weekend.
After a close loss to Navy early in the afternoon at the MAC, the Crimson (4-5 overall, 0-4 Ivy) came up with its first win since December 2 by sweeping all three weapon categories MIT in the late afternoon. The Harvard women's team lost both matches to Navy and MIT.
"We fenced MIT at 3:00, the time we usually have practices," Zivkovic said. "Against Navy, we had very little desire to win."
In sabre, after Nathan Schmulewitz's win in the first round, the Midshipmen swept the following eight bouts.
It was much closer in foil. After Gideon Yaffe's initial loss, Adam Sussman and Chris Okumura came up with wins in the first round. In the second and third rounds, Yaffe's sweep wasn't enough as Sussman and Okumura fell, giving Navy the 5-4 win.
It was 5-4 Navy in epee again. After losing all three bouts in the first round, the Crimson fencers came back to win all three in the second round. In the third round, after Franco Bassegio's win, Edward Naidich and Anthony Loeser lost their bouts.
The slumber initially stayed with Harvard against MIT.
In sabre, all three first-round bouts went to MIT. Pottinger and Einaudi managed to win in the second round. Trailing 4-2 after two rounds, the Crimson won its last three bouts to defeat MIT, 5-4. A small celebration followed the last bout in sabre to congratulate Pottinger whose meet-winning bout at the end was his last home bout.
In foil, except for Okumura's loss in the first round, all bouts went to the Crimson. And in epee, Harvard again dominated by taking seven of nine bouts. Loeser lost in the first and second rounds.
"Harvard is a more experienced team," MIT Captain Dan Hosken said after the meet. "I think we gave them a good fight."
"We were more warmed up for MIT," Pottinger said. "We didn't have time to warm up for Navy because they were fencing MIT."
Navy had swept MIT, 22-5, earlier in the afternoon.
"Navy was very physical and aggressive," Einaudi said. "But we got together for MIT. As long as we fence as well as we did today, we'll do okay against Yale [Wednesday] and at the IFAs."
Competing without senior Michelle Kosch, the Harvard women's team (4-8 overall, 2-2 Ivy) fell to both Navy, 10-6, and MIT, 11-5.
With the loss to MIT, the Crimson was eliminated from the NCAA Regionals. Only Captain Amy Neuhardt and Kosch can qualify as individuals.
Against the Midshipmen, the Crimson had a hopeful start with wins by Captain Amy Neuhardt and Susan Chan in the first round.
Yet it quickly became apparent that Navy would dominate, as Neuhardt was the only Harvard fencer to win in the second or third rounds. Marcy Glazer and Kate Tulenko, Nuehardt's substitute, both won in the fourth round. But it was too little, too late.
A similar story followed against MIT.
Only Neuhardt won in the first round; Neuhardt and Glazer managed to win in the second; Tulenko won her bout in the third; and Ceglia won in the fourth round.
"We definitely could have beat them with Michelle Kosch," Neuhardt claimed after the meet.
THE NOTEBOOK: Both squads travel to New Haven to fence Yale tomorrow. The men travel to Princeton for the IFA Championships this weekend, while the women travel to Providence for the New England Championships.