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"We should have won."
That was the general consensus among the Harvard men fencers after their first meet since the long layoff due to reading and exam periods.
In a close and disappointing meet against Princeton at the MAC Saturday, the men lost in two of the three weapon categories. The women's team, fencing only with foil, soundly defeated Vassar and Princeton, 14-2 and 10-6, respectively.
In sabre, Harvard men dominated the early bouts by winning four of the first five. However, Princeton quickly came back to tie the Crimson, 4-4.
In the final bout, Paul Pottinger easily won, 5-0, pushing Harvard to a win in the sabre category. Pottinger was 3-0 for the day; his fellow sabre-fencers captain Peter Einaudi and Nathan Schmulewitz were 0-3 and 2-1 respectively.
The Princeton foil-fencers, led by their captain Tom Thliveris, soundly defeated the Crimson, 6-3. All three Harvard foil-fencers--Adam Sussman, Gideon Yaffe, and Chris Okumura--were 1-2 for the day. "Their best man [Thliveris] was better than any of us," Okumura said. "But overall, I think we had more talent."
"We should have won," Okumura echoed.
In epee, Harvard lost, 5-4. Anthony Loeser won all three of his bouts while Edward Naidich and Franco Basegio were 0-3 and 1-2 respectively.
"We expected to beat them by a wider margin," Thliveris said. "I didn't expect it to be this close. The Harvard team is much better this year than last year."
Yet Harvard coach Branimir Zivkovic was of a different opinion.
"I'm surprised that we lost this match," Zivkovic said. "We should have won all three weapons."
Zivkovic blamed the lack of practice during exams as the chief reason for a disappointing day. The Crimson men only had two practices before this meet.
"This is a very young team," Zivkovic said. "They have to gain confidence. And the only way they are going to do that is by practice, hard work, and discipline."
"The girls won today because they practiced during the exam period," Zivkovic said. "They have a different attitude."
Against Vassar, the Crimson was up, 8-0, after two rounds, at which point three starters were taken out of the match. Harvard still won six of the next eight bouts.
"We expected to beat Vassar because we had a scrimmage against them earlier in the season," said Harvard captain Amy Neuhardt, whose team dominated with 75 touches, compared to a mere 31 by Vassar.
"Against Princeton, we didn't know what to expect because of the change in the lineup since last year," said Neuhardt, whose team had more trouble with the Tigers.
THE NOTEBOOK: Both the men and the women fence next week at the MAC against Penn, one of the best fencing team in the league.
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