Outdueled by Yale in the last match of the regular season, the Harvard men's and women's fencing teams are looking forward to making it up in postseason play.
The women closed out their season with a 12-4 loss to the Elis. Neither this defeat nor their 0-6 Ivy League record, however, reflects the team's true potential.
The women's squad has gained experience and proven that it has talent.
At the North Eastern Championships last Sunday, Harvard placed second behind MIT in the nine-team competition. Freshman Mayling Bianey placed first in the individual competition.
"It was an up and down season," Assistant Coach Jmil Kalioubi said.
Kalioubi attributed some of the problems the team has had with Harvard's January exam Schedule, which cut into practice time as well as breaking their concentration. The team is young, with two freshman out of four fencers on the varsity squad. Freshman standout Bianey will be going to fence at the Regionals match next Sunday at MIT.
The men's epee team won 6-3, but this was not enough to overcome a 6-3 loss in sabre and Yale's 9-0 sweep in foil. Despite the loss, the men's team, led by senior Tony Loeser, has qualified to participate in this weekend's regional tournament. Qualifiers from this weekend will go on to participate in NCAA's.
The men finished their season with a record of 5-8 overall, 1-4 in the Ivy League. This is an improvement from last season, when the team was blanked, 0-5, in Ivy League action.
"It's step in the right direction," said Loeser of the improvement. "And we're all really looking forward to regionals."
Junior Nathan Schmulewitz, a member of the sabre team, is very positive about this weekend's possibilities.
"Today was just not right for us," Schmulewitz said. "Yale had two left-handers, which is something we haven't come up against before. We can definitely beat Yale at regionals and we have a good chance at NCAA's."
Harvard Coach Zirkovic called the team's chances at regionals a 'toss-up."
"The tournament has a new format this year, so it will just depend on how the team reacts to it," Zirkovic said.