NEW HAVEN, Conn. The Pennsylvania Invitational included a series of changes to the schedule due to an unpredictable weather forecast that forced several schools to withdraw. As a result, the Bulldogs ended up fencing SHU and NYU on Saturday afternoon and Notre Dame, Northwestern, and UPenn on Sunday. Throughout the tournament, the team remained impressibly flexible, preparing on extremely short notice for difficult lineups and collaborating with other teams to make the most of the competition time.
In Round 7 on Saturday, the Bulldogs soundly defeated SHU 18-9. The foil squad won 8-1, with starters Anna Zhou and Camille Pham going undefeated. Zhou won all three of her bouts 5-0, walking away with a +15 indicator; in other words, she did not lose a single touch against any of her opponents. Pham lost only two touches, to finish with an impressive +13 indicator. Starter Sarah Pak narrowly lost her first bout, losing 3-2 in overtime when her opponent was given priority. She rebounded with 5-0 and 5-2 wins. In the entire round, the squad lost only six touches, an impressive record and start to the tournament. In Saber, starter and squad captain Lauren Kim went undefeated with a strong +11 indicator. Walk-on Samantha Wood, who became a starter this year after her transfer from foil, won the other two bouts that secured the saber squad's 5-4 victory. The results in epee were more mixed, with starters Joy Ma, Michelle Nam, and Shirley Wang cumulatively taking a 5-4 victory; after handily winning her first two bouts, Wang substituted out to allow walk-on alternate Jacqueline Hayre-Pérez an opportunity at the final bout, which was lost in overtime 5-4.
In Round 8, starting at 6:00pm after an early morning of travelling, the Bulldogs secured a 19-8 victory against NYU. The epee squad won every single bout, taking home a 9-0 sweep of the round. Starters Lucy Friedmann and Nam had +9 and +12 indicators respectively, and Wang again substituted out to allow Hayre-Pérez the penultimate victory. The foil squad also found success, delivering Yale a 6-3 win. Zhou again went undefeated. Pak's singular defeat, lost 1-2, again went into overtime with her opponent given priority. Pham substituted out to allow walk-on alternate Grace Baghdadi an opportunity to try her hand against an NYU starter. In saber, sophomore walk-on Yoanna Lazarova started the round strong; she won her only bout of the tournament, an impressive feat for a fencer who started from scratch only a year prior and stepped up to a starting position. Starters Wood and Kim won saber squad's additional three bouts, and the squad finished with a close 4-5 loss.
On Sunday, the Bulldogs restarted in the early first round at 8:30 against Notre Dame. The epee squad pulled through with a 5-4 win; starters Wang, Ma and Nam started the round off strong, each winning their first bouts for an initial 3-0 lead. Nam and Wang fought for the additional two points, and Ma substituted out for Hayre-Perez who lost in overtime 1-2 with only 15 seconds remaining. In foil, Zhou won a 5-4 bout to secure a victory for the squad, and in saber, Wood and Kim each fought for every point to walk away with several bitter 3-5 losses.
Northwestern likewise proved to be a touch match. The epee squad again pulled through with a 5-4 win with a starting lineup of Wang, Ma and Friedmann. In saber, Kim won the squad's two bouts. Zhou's two victories started and closed the round for the foil squad, with Baghdadi fighting a hard-lost 4-5 penultimate bout.
For the last matchup of the tournament, the Bulldogs faced off against UPenn and narrowly lost 15-12, a difference of only two bouts. The epee squad finished strong with a 6-3 victory. Starters Ma, Nam and Friedmann fought hard in several 4-5 bouts and bouts going into overtime. Ma went undefeated in the round. Foil starters Pak, Zhou and Pham narrowly edged out the Quakers with a 5-4 victory. The saber squad struggled, but they managed to end the round, and their day, with a 5-3 victory from Kim.
The team is walking away with mixed results, but they are looking ahead to an upcoming home meet against Vassar and Sacred Heart and the Ivy League Round Robins hosted at Yale.
report by Jacqueline Hayre-Pérez '21, Yale Sports Publicity