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Take the Harvard women’s fencing team’s 21-6 win last week over Brandeis, substitute another cross-town rival, widen the margin of victory and you have Saturday’s match against Tufts.
Fencing at home and riding the momentum earned in its last two wins over Columbia and Brandeis, the Crimson dominated the Jumbos, 22-5. Harvard jumped on the win from the first bout and did not cede a single weapon to Tufts, winning epee, 9-0, foil, 8-1, and saber, 5-4.
“Everyone in the first round was really putting everything into it, and, as a result, we could get momentum from the very beginning and really crush them,” co-captain Chloe Stinetorf said. “I don’t think there was a point in the competition where Tufts had any kind of momentum against us.”
Freshman Carolyn Wright anchored the saber squad, denying her Tufts opponent a single touch. Wright won her three bouts by 5-0 margins, winning the majority of the team’s points in the weapon.
“Whatever I was trying was working,” Wright said. “Everyone was fighting really hard.”
The saber squad fenced first, while the epee and foil squads fenced simultaneously afterwards, so Wright’s success can be seen as a boost not only to the team’s score but to its momentum.
“If your team is doing well from the very beginning, you’re like, ‘It’s going well. Let’s do this,’” Stinetorf said.
Freshman Samantha Parker and junior Amy Li each fell, 2-1, dropping four points to the Jumbos.
“I think saber is [Tufts’] strong point,” Stinetorf said. “They don’t have as many experienced fencers in their foil or epee squads.”
Sophomore Jasmine McGlade was flawless, winning three 5-0 bouts to lead Harvard in epee.
“I think I personally performed very well. Yesterday, I was just mentally there. I was excited,” McGlade said.
Sophomores Precious Eboigbe and Caitlan McLoon were also undefeated in that weapon.
“I don’t think there was a single person on the team who wasn’t fencing well,” Stinetorf said.
Both Stinetorf and fellow co-captain Anne Austin won 3-0 in foil, while sophomore Arielle Nagler took a 2-1 victory. Stinetorf did not cede a touch in her match.
“You can fence well and still let a few touches in, but sometimes you have a day when you’re just completely on and extremely focused,” Stinetorf said.
The win caps off a strong fall semester for the team. After a showing at the Penn State Invitational in which every fencer advanced to the finals, Harvard shook an old curse, topping Columbia for the first time since the mid-’90s by a wide 19-8 margin.
“When I was a freshman, there was some article in the Columbia Spectator that called us the ‘doormat of Ivy League fencing,’” Stinetorf said.
“Starting with my year, the program has been on the rise,” she added. “This year is the first we have enough recruits to fill out the starting positions, and we have the best chance to win the Ivy League title.”
Stinetorf credited the victory in part to enthusiasm.
“I think the Columbia team, even though they were a very strong team, didn’t have the same level of intensity we had that day,” Stinetorf said.
Beating the Lions has also become a motivator helping to propel the rest of its season.
“We performed so well at Columbia, and we really need to do the same for the rest of the matches,” McGlade said.
The Crimson will not compete again until it takes on MIT Jan. 12 at home.
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