First there was Athos, Aramis and Porthos and now there is Cooper, Lowry and Sze. History's second great trio of duelers engineered the Harvard women's fencing teams surprisingly easy 13-3 victory over MIT Saturday, winning 12 bouts and losing none.
Each of the three musketeers carried an unbeaten slate into the MIT contest, their third match of the season. Each of the three, at one point in their MIT bouts looked like they would lose their perfect record. And each of the three, in true musketeerian fashion, came from behind when they had to and managed to have the last stab.
Captain Nancy Cooper came the closest to having her record blemished. In her fourth and final bout of the afternoon, she quickly went down 4-1 against MIT's Marion Stein. She came back to 4-2 by parrying a Stein attack then counter-attacking into the MIT fencers midsection. Cooper tied the bout at 4-4 with two touches below Stein's attempted parries in two seconds. She clinched the victory by beating Stein's blade downward and lunging forward to touch the unprotected stomach.
MIT's Stein also came close to beating Cathy Lowry, jumping out to an early 3-1 lead. Then Lowry gathered three touches within ten seconds, using her strength to force her way though parries for the last two points. After Stein tied it at 4-4, Lowry won the bout, extracting her blade from a tie up with Stein's and poking the MIT fencer in the belly.
Debbie Sze's narrow escape from the agony of defeat came against Michelle Prettyman. Down 4-3, Sze tied the duel at 4-4 then earned the thrill of victory by parrying a Prettyman lunge, then counterattacking into the engineer's chest.
*Cooper attributed the victory to intelligent fencing. By figuring out early what MIT expected them to do, the Crimson were able to fence unpredictably and outfox their foes.
Coach Ben Zivkovic, when asked about Harvard's ability to use just their wrists when moving the foil (as opposed to MIT's habit of tipping off their tactics by moving their entire arm), emphasized the importance of refined technique. "If you don't have the technique it's slogging," he said. "When you get it (point movement) down from the wrists to the fingertips then you fence in the Olympics."
The Crimson margin of victory might have been greater had Celine Larkin not aggravated a thigh injury and forfeited her last battle. Larkin yesterday explained that her thigh is very swollen and that she cannot predict whether she will be out a few days or a few weeks with the injury.