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Harvard fencing coach Peter Brand might have put it best.
“Harvard pretty much dominated everything this year in the [Northeastern Fencing Conference],” he said.
The men (13-1, 1-1 Ivy) and women (15-1, 2-1) each capped undefeated NFC seasons last night with wins over Brandeis.
The Crimson men defeated the Judges 19-8 with 8-1 and 7-2 victories in the epee and saber, respectively. Harvard narrowly lost the foil, 4-5.
“The men were great,” Brand said. “We did not expect them to be that dominant. The epee was especially good.”
Junior Steve Milder and sophomore Michael Soto finished perfect evenings in the epee at 3-0, while freshman Julian Rose recorded a 2-1 mark fencing from the No. 1 position.
Harvard took the women’s title, 19-8, and swept all three weapons—the foil 8-1, epee 6-3 and saber 5-4.
Freshmen Anne Austin and Chloe Stinetorf went undefeated at 3-0 in foil, while junior co-captain Liz Blase finished 2-1.
“We have great women’s foil fencers,” Brand said. “The pressure just doesn’t get to them at all.”
The credit for that has to rest partly with Brand and first-year assistant coach Guogang Wen.
“College fencing puts a lot of pressure on fencers,” Brand said. “We lighten things up, play a lot of games and take the pressure off. The team is so close to each other right now, it’s a double-edged sword. Maybe they are too nervous they are going to lose for each other.”
Harvard faces Yale and Princeton on Feb. 22 with a shot at the Ivy League title. For the women to win, Columbia needs to lose, while Penn must falter for the men to take the title.
Regardless of how Columbia and Penn fare, however, Brandt is confident about the Crimson’s chances against Yale.
“On paper we match up well against Yale,” Brand said. “They are the weakest men’s squad in the league. We can take that match.”
Harvard is more concerned with Princeton.
“It will be a close match,” Brand said. “The Princeton men have two nationally ranked in the epee, and we have two in the saber. It will come down to the foil. It’s similar with the women. We should trade the foil and epee, and it will come down to the saber.”
– Staff writer Timothy Jackson can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
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