WALTHAM, Mass. - The Yale men's fencing team pulled off a clean sweep at the Brandeis Invitational fencing tournament on Saturday, winning all five dual meets in which it participated. The Bulldogs compiled a 5-0 record against St. John's (14-13), UNC (14-13), Brandeis (17-10), Boston College (18-9) and MIT (21-6).
The Elis were undefeated at last year's Brandeis Invitational as well, finishing with a record of 4-0. However with the addition of UNC to this year's tournament, Yale was able to improve on its performance from last year by adding one more victory. Yet there was more to the improvement than just the one tangible additional victory. The teams that the Bulldogs fenced against this year were generally stronger than the ones at last year's tournament-in particular, UNC and St. John's are both very good teams.
Senior captain Andrew Holbrook corroborated this view.
"We are all pleased to have done what we knew we could-go 5-0," he said. "UNC and St. John's are very strong schools and beating them took everyone performing at their best. The tournament proved to us that we can beat anyone. We knew that victories against St. John's and UNC were possible, but having done it, we're more confident going into the rest of the season."
Included within Yale's 5-0 team record, was senior John Gurrieri's spectacular individual performance. Gurrieri fenced against each of the five opposing teams, compiling a personal record of 12 wins and one loss, in 13 bouts. Gurrieri's performance against St. John's was particularly important in helping the foil squad to an 8-1 record-one that proved to be crucial and decisive for Yale's narrow 14-13 victory. Sophomores Shiv Kachru and Jonathan Holbrook each contributed 3 victories to the foil squad's 8-1 record against St. John's. Gurrieri also went 3-0 against UNC, picking up the slack when the other foilists were struggling.
"I'm proud of the way the foil squad stuck together throughout the day," said Gurrieri. We supported each other and refused to give up despite some pitfalls and came back for an impressive showing against St. John's."
Also impressive was the Yale epee squad's 5-4 victory over UNC, which has one of the strongest epee squads in the country. Additionally, the Yale saber squad exhibited a complete turnaround as compared to last year. Against Boston College, Brandeis, MIT and St. John's, last year's saber squad finished with a record of 10-26. This year's saber squad, which includes two new freshman starters, finished with a record of 23-13 against the same schools.
"With two freshmen starting, everyone was confident in and impressed by the performance of the saber squad," said Holbrook. "The foil team really came through for us against St. John's and the epee squad proved itself against UNC."
The Bulldogs will now head into winter break, and resume competitive fencing on Jan. 18th with a home meet against Vassar.
Boston College: 18-9
Holbrook, J: 2-0
Holbrook, A: 3-0
Holbrook, A: 3-0
Holbrook, J: 2-1
Holbrook, A: 1-0
Holbrook, J: 0-3
St. John's: 14-13
Holbrook, J: 3-0
Report By Arsi Sefaj '11, Yale Sports Publicity