Fencing: Northwestern strives for perfect weekend at Vassar Invitational


Source: Northwestern Athletics

A Northwestern fencer battles an opponent. The Wildcats will compete in the Vassar Invitational this weekend.

Peter Warren, Reporter


Northwestern enters Saturday’s Vassar Invitational in Poughkeepsie, New York, as the favorite in all eight of its matches.

As a result, the Wildcats have very high expectations for the upcoming stretch.

“We should go undefeated,” coach Zach Moss said. “We should be able to beat every team there.”

This is the third consecutive year NU is competing at the tournament. Over the previous two years, the Cats were 15-1, having only lost in 2015 to Cornell, which is not fencing at the Vassar Invitational this year.

Instead, NU will face off against City College of New York, Fairleigh Dickinson, Haverford, Queens, Sacred Heart, Stevens, Wagner and Wellesley in a nine-hour span.

The Cats fenced against six of their weekend opponents last year at the invitational. In those meets, NU finished with 133 individual wins and only suffered 29 individual losses. Its results included a 24-3 win over Queens and a 26-1 victory over Haverford.

Much like at the Elite Invitational last weekend, injuries will factor into the Cats’ performance

“We are definitely are a little beat up but nothing major, just some things rest and recovery will help with,” Moss said. “It makes it a little harder this weekend because we don’t have as much depth as we normally would.”

Two sophomores were injured over the past week. Epee Adelle Berdichevsky was hurt in the final practice before the Elite Invitational and will be sidelined for the second straight event, Moss said. Sabre Abby Tartell, who went 7-2 on the first day of the Elite Invitational, was injured in pre-bout warm-ups on Sunday and will also be out.

Even with the lack of high-quality competition this weekend, NU will still look to improve on its previous performances. Freshman epee Anya Harkness said the team recently discussed staying mentally focused after losing early bouts, which happened against Penn last week.

“One thing I think we collectively as a team need to work on is not letting one loss get to us,” Harkness said. “At the beginning of a meet, if one person loses one bout, the whole team gets stressed out from it.”

In addition to winning all eight meets, Moss has other goals he wants to the see his team accomplish.

He said he hopes the Cats continue to find and cultivate their identity as a team. Moss said NU is going to outwork everybody, is extremely passionate for the sport and will never give up.

Although the team identity is still in flux, junior foil Yvonne Chart said the Cats’ chemistry is as strong as it has been in recent years. She added the team has come together as a group and this year’s team chemistry has already surpassed that of last year’s team.

“We have had some great opportunities to bond as a team both in practice and outside of practice,” Chart said. “A few people are taking advantage of those and are really getting to know each other on a deeper level rather than just as teammates during practice. I think that has made a big difference.”

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