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Led by an overwhelming performance in foil that collected eight victories in nine bouts, the Harvard fencing team successfully met its first legitimate challenge of the season Saturday, defeating CCNY, 16-11, at the IAB.
The foil squad, showing for the first time this season the form and performance that Crimson coach Edo Marion had predicted for it at the beginning of the season, got three wins spiece from Howie Weiss and Phillipe Bennett and two from David Fichter, as it completely dominated CCNY.
"The foil men did much, much better than I had expected," Marion said after the match. "And thank God that they did."
The foil team was backed up by a solid performance by the sabre men, who, had they not lost three straight 5-4 decisions in the second round, would have had an equally impressive record. As it was, the sabre squad took two out of three bouts in the first round, and bounced back from the second round debacle to sweep three straight in round three to give Harvard the team victory. The sabre squad won five out of nine bouts in the afternoon.
Sophomore Gordon Rutledge gave Harvard its third straight team triumph of the season, when he eked out a tough 5-4 win in the third sabre bout of the third round.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the afternoon came in epee, where Harvard was unable to match CCNY's powerful epee men. Harvard could manage only three wins in nine bouts from the Beavers. The epee action also saw freshman Chris Jennings lose his first intercollegiate bout. Jennings, fencing carelessly in the third round action (after the team victory had been assured) dropped a 5-4 decision.
"Their epee team is very strong," Marion said. "They are perhaps the strongest that we will face this year."
Before the match Marion had indicated that Harvard's performance against CCNY would determine how strong a team the Crimson has this year. Afterwards he said that while he was encouraged by the squad's showing, he is still not completely satisfied.
"This was a good test," he said. "However, we are not yet to the point where I can believe in the constant performance of our squad. We are not yet consistent enough."
Harvard has plenty of time to reduce its inconsistencies. The Crimson fencers do not have another match until February. During the lay-off, Marion expects to smooth out a lot of Crimson rough edges. He had better succeed, because the first match after the lay-off is against perennial powerhouse NYU.
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