Bulldogs to Fence Princeton, Penn in Ivy North Competition

Feb. 19, 2009

NEW HAVEN, Conn. - On Sunday, the Yale men's fencing team will meet Princeton and Penn during the second round of a two day round-robin style competition to determine the Ivy League Championship. This Ivy North Competition will be hosted by Brown in Providence, R.I. Having made great strides forward this season, and having picked up some momentum from their 1-2 finish during the first round, the Bulldogs stand poised and confident to improve upon last year's fifth-place finish.

During the first round of play, at the Ivy South Competition, Yale fenced comparatively well in a 17-10 loss to the host and perennial powerhouse Columbia. This was the best score that the Bulldogs had posted against Columbia in six years. However, in their second match-up of the day, the Bulldogs suffered a narrow and frustrating loss to Brown by a score of 14-13. The loss was particularly tough to swallow given that Brown was the only team that Yale defeated during last season's competition, and by a decisive score of 18-9 at that. Luckily, Yale was able to shake off the negative feelings to defeat rival Harvard by a final score of 15-12, to end the meet on a positive note. The victory was especially sweet given that it broke a seven-year losing streak against Harvard culminating in an 18-9 loss to the Crimson last season.

Despite its roller coaster of a day, the team left the meet with some positive momentum after having secured the satisfying victory against Harvard. Moreover, with the victory, the Bulldogs have already tied their total number of Ivy League wins from last season, and anything barring a sweep on Sunday will allow them to improve on last year's 1-4 record. The Bulldogs are looking forward to this possibility and this weekend's matches against Princeton and Penn.

"This weekend, we'll be facing two challenging schools, Penn and Princeton," said foilist and team manager Andrew Holbrook. "Since our frustrating loss against Brown last weekend, we have had two weeks of focused practice. We're looking to recapture the energy and excitement we had when we beat Harvard when we fence again this weekend."

On Sunday, Yale will begin the day against Princeton, who it lost to by a close score of 15-12 last season. The Tigers are a tough team, and after a 1-1 showing during the Ivy South Competition, they are currently ahead of Yale in the standings. Like Yale, Princeton also defeated Harvard, although by a score of 17-10. However, the Tigers did lose to Penn 15-12 to end with a .500 record. Captain Michael Pearce and the Yale epee squad will have its hands full as Princeton has one of the best concentrations of epeeists in the Ivy League.

Later that afternoon, Yale will fence Penn, who finished second in the Ivy League with a record of 4-1 last season. Yale lost to Penn by a score of 17-10 last season and all indicators point to this year's match being even more challenging. Penn is flying high with a record of 15-0, after going 3-0 in the Ivy South Competition. Among those three victories is an impressive 18-9 defeat of the Columbia Lions. It appears Yale will have its hands full with the Quakers.

However, the Bulldogs are optimistic for their prospects in the second round of competition. The team is much improved over last year, as its performance in the Ivy South Competition showed, and it is looking forward to a strong showing on Sunday.

"Everyone is excited to come out with our best against Penn and Princeton," noted Holbrook.

Tentative Squads for this meet along with individual records at the first round of competition at Columbia, are as follows:

Epee
Michael Pearce - (9-0) First-Team All-Ivy last year (10-2), 13th at NCAAs last year
Alexander Cohen - (2-7) Freshman
Thomas Bell - (5-4) First Ivy appearance as a starter came at Ivy South Competition

Foil
Andrew Holbrook - (4-3) Team Manager
Nathaniel Botwinick - (4-2) 18th at NCAAs last year
John Gurrieri - (5-2) First-Team All-Ivy last year (11-4), 13th at NCAAs last year
Shiv Kachru - (4-3) Freshman

Sabre
Jonathan Holbrook - (0-5) Freshman
Adam Fields - (3-6) Freshman
Sebastian Cano-Besquet - (3-3)
Stephen Watty - (1-6)

The final results from the Ivy North Competition will also help to determine which, if any, individual fencers will participate in the NCAA Regional Championship.

Live information about the meet can be found at the official blog of Ivy League Fencing.

Report Filed by Arsi Sefaj '11, Yale Sports Publicity