Fencing: Schiller one win from 1,000 after perfect weekend in Philadelphia

Jonah L. Rosenblum

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On a day when both the epée and sabre squads struggled, the foil unit stepped up, leading Northwestern to a perfect 6-0 record at the Philadelphia Invitational.

The foil team won all six of its matches, boosting its record to 10-0 on the season. As a squad, foil won 42 of its 54 bouts Saturday, many of which came down to one-touch 5-4 bouts.

“If it’s going to come down to one touch, it should be us that gets it,” associate head coach Ed Kaihatsu said.

No win was more important than against Penn. The epée and sabre teams both fell 5-4 to the Quakers, but the foil squad won eight of nine to lead the Cats to a 16-11 victory.

Sophomore foilist Camille Provencal posted a 14-2 record this weekend, freshman foilist Dayana Sarkisova went 13-1 and sophomore foilist Devynn Patterson went 10-4 for the Cats. Together, the three combined for 37 of the group’s 42 wins.

The foilists had some difficulty against Temple, but fortunately for NU, the epée squad picked up the slack, going 6-3 to lead the Cats to a 16-11 victory over the Owls.

The epée team won five out of six Saturday, with its only loss coming against Penn. In all of its other matches, they won at least six out of nine bouts.

“This weekend was the first test of the season,” senior epeeist Joanna Niklinska said. “Before Penn, we had Temple, which was a very intense bout but we played very well.”

Freshman Kate Cavanaugh led the way, going 10-0 in her collegiate dual debut, including an upset win over the Owls’ All-American Stephanie Wheeler.

“I had fenced her before a long time ago, and I know her style,” Cavanaugh said. “She wasn’t really expecting me. I don’t think she knew who I was, so I was a little bit of an underdog.

“I was fired up to fence her. I was excited. I was fighting for the bout.”

Senior epeeists and sisters Kayley and Christa French also turned in strong performances for the epée squad. Kayley finished 13-2 while Christa went 12-4.

The sabre squad had a lackluster performance for its standards. It got off to a strong start against Temple and Drew, but then lost three of its last four.

The final defeat was the most disappointing, a 6-3 loss to Sacred Heart.

“We were caught off-guard with Sacred Heart,” Kaihatsu said. “They had two pretty solid sabre fencers. Those two won all their bouts. And we beat the third girl, and that made the score 6-3. We were not prepared for that sabre squad.”

NU’s six wins Saturday put coach Laurie Schiller’s win total at 999. After participating in the USFA North American Cup this weekend, Schiller will get his first chance at 1,000 on Jan. 23rd, when the Cats resume team play at the NYU Duals.jonahrosenblum2012@u.northwestern.edu