NU shows promise in losses to top teams (Fencing)

Matt Forman

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The No. 6 Wildcats showed their ability to stay competitive with the nation’s elite at the NYU Duals in New York on Saturday. But facing the top three teams in the USFCA Coaches’ Poll, Northwestern lost to Notre Dame, Columbia and Ohio State, finishing 3-3 on the day.

NU (19-3) fenced No. 2 Columbia to start the day, losing 15-12. The Cats then defeated Yale 20-7, but lost their next two matches against No. 1 Notre Dame, 15-12, and No. 3 Ohio State, 18-9.

The Cats topped Wayne State 18-9 and defeated host NYU 24-3 to wrap up the day.

Coach Laurie Schiller said losing to the top-ranked Fighting Irish was not a disappointment.

“The Notre Dame meet was quite close,” he said. “You feel like one point here, one point there we win it. I mean the difference was two points. There’s no shame in losing to the number one team in the country.”

According to Schiller, the foil squad turned in the most impressive performance of the weekend. The foilists, led by senior Natalie Wang and junior Sam Nemecek, have not lost a dual meet this season, posting a 22-0 record thus far.

Wang went 14-2 while Nemecek went 15-1, losing her first bout of the season.

“The foil team has done very, very well,” said Schiller of the team’s 6-0 weekend. “Against that competition this weekend, their performance was just excellent.”

Wang attributes the team’s success to camaraderie.

“My squad especially is very close,” said Wang, the foil team captain. “I’ve never seen a squad so close before.”

The sabre squad failed to perform as well as its foil counterpart. Schiller said the sabre team knows it could have done better against Notre Dame, and that when the Cats face the Fighting Irish two weeks from now at the Notre Dame Duals, the sabreists will make a difference.

The group is depleted by injuries and suffering from Jill Mahen’s freak car accident. Despite this, coach Schiller said sophomore Allie Keller, who went 7-7 at NYU, has impressed lately.

“Against some really tough competition (Keller’s) just really stepped up,” Schiller said. “She did another good job for us this weekend.”

The Cats’ next chance to knock off elite competition comes this weekend at the NU Duals at SPAC. In the two-day event, the Cats will fence 11 teams, including three top-10 foes.

“Expect great things from us this weekend,” Keller said.

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