Fencing: Wildcats dispense five opponents at weekend invitational


Sean Hong/Daily Senior Staffer

Ranked eighth in the country, Northwestern bolstered its resume Friday and Saturday in Palo Alto, Calif. The Wildcats defeated all five of their opponents, including two victories over hosts Stanford, in their first action of 2014.

Alex Lederman, Reporter

Northwestern cruised to another tournament victory this weekend, defeating five opponents at the Western Invitational championship in Palo Alto, Calif.

With the victories, the No. 8 Wildcats improved to 16-0. The team has yet to win a match by less than 7 points.

“I was actually very pleased with the entire weekend and the team’s effort,” coach Laurie Schiller said. “Especially considering we had several freshmen fencing out there, I thought we looked great.”

The weekend started Friday when NU traveled to Palo Alto to challenge Stanford. The Cats took down the Cardinal in the dual meet with a 17-10 victory.

Stanford, however, looked for revenge Saturday, as four more schools –  University of California, San Diego; California Institute of Technology; Air Force and Florida – joined the Cats in Palo Alto for the Western Invitational.

NU rose to the occasion, defeating Stanford in even stronger fashion in the rematch, topping the hosts 18-9.

The win was a big one for the Cats, as the Cardinal are the strongest competition the young team had ever faced. The early success showed the freshman-heavy squad is a force to be reckoned with.

“Although we had meets in the fall,” Schiller said, “those meets weren’t very strong, so this is the first time that the freshmen really faced tough college competition. There were some nerves and stuff, but a number of them fenced in high school, which has the same format, so they were prepared for the way the game was gonna go.”

In the second round, NU looked even better. The Cats proved too strong for UC San Diego to handle, coming out with a 20-7 victory.

Caltech looked to take down the cruising Cats in the third round but were quickly shown the door. NU had its easiest victory of the tournament, shutting out the Beavers 27-0.

The fourth and fifth round provided more dominance. First, NU topped Air Force 23-4, and then they took the title with a 25-2 victory against Florida.

“I think we did everything well,” Schiller said. “I think we were focused, and considering we only had two days of practice because school was closed, I think we fenced well.”

Schiller cited freshman Ania Parzecki as a particular standout at the meet but said it was difficult to pick individual performances in such a team effort.

The competition, though, only gets tougher from here on out, and Schiller is well aware of the challenges that lie ahead.

“The next set of competitions that we have are gonna be significantly tougher,” he said. “(We face) top-10 teams: Columbia, Penn, Temple, Ohio State, Notre Dame. There’s gonna be some pretty tough matches coming up in two weeks when we go out east again, so we’re gonna have to be a little sharper.”

Although his squad looked dominant over the weekend, Schiller knows there are still areas that could use improvement. Nonetheless, he is confident in his team’s prospects moving forward.

“There’s always things to work on,” he said, “but we’ll have had another two weeks of practice, so we’re gonna be ready to go for (the tough competition).”

Email: [email protected]