Feb. 2, 2006
Fresh off a 20-7 victory over Sacred Heart, the Yale men's fencing team (4-7, 0-0 Ivy) is ready for Ivy League competition. The team, which will compete over consecutive weekends against the entirety of its Ivy opponents, heads to Ithaca on Sunday to take on Penn, Harvard, and Columbia. The following Sunday, the Bulldogs will fence against Princeton and Brown in New York City.
The team has faced several challenges during the season, fencing without important team members. Thanks to the return of foiler Corey Werk, the Bulldogs look to have even more stability.
Despite the new format, players said that no changes have been made to their strategy. Fencing against multiple schools during one day is nothing new to the squad. At the Brandeis Invitational, the Bulldogs competed against four other schools during just one day of competition.
As in the past, the winner of the Ivy League title will be decided from round robin play and each team's three squads will compete with opponents from five other schools.
The Bulldogs recognize that they will be facing strong competition over the next two weekends, as the Ivy League is considered the toughest conference nationally. Until this year, official Ivy competition has been limited to dual matches. Because of the change, teams will have less time to analyze their opponents.
"One of the biggest differences is that, by fencing all together, it prevents us from seeing how other schools fence against one another and then tailoring our expectations to the results," Chris Sinay said. "We still have a general idea of other teams' strengths and weaknesses, but Ivy League competition will be a bit more of a surprise this season."
The men's team has already experienced some of its upcoming competition. At the Brandeis Invitational, the Bulldogs fell 17-10 to Brown. The sabre and foil squads lost 7-2, and only the epee squad came out on top with an 8-1 victory. In order to be victorious this time, all squads will have to add to the wins column.
Harvard, the reigning Ivy champion, returns three first-team All-Ivy members. Princeton and Columbia also boast 2005 All-Ivy fencers.
"We are going to have to step it up against schools like Harvard, but I am confident we can beat any Ivy if we keep our heads in the game and fight for every touch," he said.
Sunday, February 5 at Cornell
Yale vs. Penn, 10 am
Yale vs. Harvard, noon
Yale vs. Columbia, 2 pm
Sunday, February 12 at Colubmia
Yale vs. Princeton, 11 am
Yale vs. Brown, 5 pm
Report by Lauren Wiznia '09, Yale Sports Publicity