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Fencing: Schiller earns 1250th win at NU Duals in South Bend

A+Northwestern+fencer+parries+away+an+opponent%E2%80%99s+attack.+The+Wildcats+showed+well+at+the+NU+Duals%2C+which+served+as+Senior+Day+despite+being+hosted+in+South+Bend%2C+Indiana.+
A Northwestern fencer parries away an opponent’s attack. The Wildcats showed well at the NU Duals, which served as Senior Day despite being hosted in South Bend, Indiana.

A Northwestern fencer parries away an opponent’s attack. The Wildcats showed well at the NU Duals, which served as Senior Day despite being hosted in South Bend, Indiana.

Daily file photo by Sean Su

Daily file photo by Sean Su

A Northwestern fencer parries away an opponent’s attack. The Wildcats showed well at the NU Duals, which served as Senior Day despite being hosted in South Bend, Indiana.

Sophie Mann, Photo Editor

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It was a bittersweet weekend for Northwestern, as the team celebrated its seniors and coach Laurie Schiller, who earned his 1,250th career win at the NU Duals.

At the seniors’ last home tournament, the Wildcats came out strong, winning 12 of 14 bouts, including a victory over No. 3 Princeton. NU also knocked off UC San Diego and Stanford, teams it beat previously at the Western Invitational, and took down No. 10 Temple and No. 9 Penn, teams the Cats were supposed to compete against last week at the postponed Penn Duals.

Despite the event being considered NU’s “home duals,” the team traveled to Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, in light of on-going construction in Henry Crown Sports Pavilion.

Freshman Maddy Curzon said she still felt as though they were at home because of the mentality surrounding Senior Day and the unity of the team.

“The venue didn’t seem too foreign,” Curzon said. “We were able to bring the ‘home-court advantage’ with our attitude. However, I think being a little out of my element made me fence better; being at home can sometimes make you feel too comfortable.”

Junior Cindy Oh said being able to honor the graduating seniors in front of everyone at the meet, including other teams, motivated the squad.

In a weekend full of highs, Schiller said it was probably one of the team’s most successful big duals, especially with the unexpected addition of Penn State to the tournament after the Nittany Lions’ dual match against St. John’s was canceled the weekend before.

“We did lose to Penn State, which was disappointing,” Schiller said. “But we upset Princeton, which was exciting, since it was after both the Notre Dame and Penn State losses. The team rebounded; they did a really good job defending our house.”

The NU Duals not only marked the last home meet for the seniors, but also for Schiller who will retire at the end of the season.

“They let us hang two huge Northwestern flags in the Dome, which are the same ones that we fly at Ryan Field for football games, so the girls get the kick out of that,” Schiller said. “(The senior ceremony) was a little tough; they were graduating and I was kind of graduating too.”

The Cats showed no signs of rust after an extra week of rest following the postponement of the Penn Duals due to weather concerns. The team remained dominant after not fencing since an undefeated weekend at the Western Invitational.

Even with a week off before the USA Junior Olympic Championships, the fencers said they will continue pushing themselves in preparation for stiff competition in Cleveland. They have a long way to go before they can rest, Oh said.

“It’s important for us to keep training hard and aim to beat the schools we both lost to and to continue to get the big wins we had before,” Oh said. “The season isn’t over and we’ve got a long way to go so we all will be working hard until the end.”

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