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As the Harvard men’s and women’s fencing teams both close in on undefeated Northeastern Fencing Conference seasons, the squads are looking ahead to their ultimate goal: an Ivy League championship.
The men (12-1, 1-1 Ivy) defeated Boston University 26-1, Massachusetts 23-4, Dartmouth 24-3 and UNH 25-2 on Saturday. The women (14-1, 2-1) were a perfect 5-0, downing BU 27-0, UMass 23-4, Dartmouth 24-3, UNH 25-2 and Wellesley 23-4.
“With the exception of Wellesley, which is Division I, they were all club teams that we faced,” said junior co-captain Liz Blase. “So it was definitely a couple steps below the competition we faced last week against Penn [but] we have a lot of great fencers on our team who were able to compete at a high standard and not fall to the level of your competition.”
The women’s foil team went a combined 44-1 on Saturday, with freshmen Chloe Stinetorf and Anne Austin fencing a perfect 15-0 and Blase finishing 14-1 despite not being 100 percent.
“We don’t have any subs on the women’s foil team, and I’d hurt my ankle, so I was trying not to reinjure it,” Blase said.
In the saber, junior Eunice Yi went undefeated and sophomore Asya Agulnik finished with a single loss. Junior Rebecca Cantu led the epee team with just one loss.
The Crimson faces Brandeis this Wednesday with the NFC title on the line.
“Brandeis is going to be tough,” Blase said. “They don’t have a lot of big names, but they are definitely solid, determined and experienced. It is also going to be really tough for us to stay focused with just three bouts and fencing on the road just makes it worse.”
Although the NFC title is important, it is the Ivy championship that most players on the team are thinking about.
Harvard faces Princeton and Yale on Feb. 22 in a meet which could give the Crimson its first Ivy title.
“We are expecting a huge challenge from Princeton,” Blase said. “They are simply stacked. They have lots of national team members and Olympic hopefuls on their roster. We have a few of those players, but their entire team is full of them. It is going to be tough.”
On the men’s team, freshman epee Dan Park, freshman foil Ian Polonsky, junior saber Noah Fabricant and co-captain saber Scott Silver all went undefeated. Sophomore foil Dan Zlotoff finished 6-1.
“We had high hopes and were confident going into the weekend,” Zlotoff said. “We had a strong performance in all three weapons and fenced well overall.”
The men also face Brandeis on Wednesday with the NFC title at stake.
“It will be a more challenging meet with Brandeis,” Zlotoff said. “But a week and a half later Yale-Princeton will be very important. It is our first chance in 20 years to win the Ivy League title. Penn has to lose and we have to win, but if everything falls into place, this thing is going to be huge. It will be our only focus after Wednesday.”
—Staff writer Timothy Jackson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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