Fencing: Northwestern to battle top teams at Penn Duals

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Fencing: Northwestern to battle top teams at Penn Duals

A Northwestern fencer toes the strip. The Wildcats head to the Penn Duels this weekend set to take on a myriad of a opponents.

A Northwestern fencer toes the strip. The Wildcats head to the Penn Duels this weekend set to take on a myriad of a opponents.

Source: Northwestern Athletics

A Northwestern fencer toes the strip. The Wildcats head to the Penn Duels this weekend set to take on a myriad of a opponents.

Source: Northwestern Athletics

Source: Northwestern Athletics

A Northwestern fencer toes the strip. The Wildcats head to the Penn Duels this weekend set to take on a myriad of a opponents.

Peter Warren, Assistant Sports Editor

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After cruising to a series of victories in California, Northwestern heads east to face some of the best teams in the country in Philadelphia.

The Wildcats will fence nine bouts at the highly competitive Penn Duals this weekend.

On Saturday, NU squares off with Cornell, Fairleigh Dickinson, New York University, Penn and Temple. The next day, the Cats duel with Brown, Columbia, Drew and Yale.

“This tournament is going to be a little bit harder,” junior sabre Maddy Curzon said. “It is on the East Coast with a lot more ranked teams.”

Only two of the nine teams, Fairleigh Dickinson and Penn, have fenced against NU this campaign. The Cats handily beat Fairleigh Dickinson at the Vassar Invitational 21-6, but lost to Penn 15-12 at the Elite Invitational.

Columbia, Penn, Temple and Yale all finished last season ranked in the top 10. Coach Zach Moss said he is most excited to watch the four matches against those teams this weekend.

“I’m excited to see how we fare against Temple and Columbia,” Moss said. “Yale is really strong this year. I really feel like we could have beaten Penn when we fenced them back in November, so I am excited for that rematch.”

Lasting from near dawn to dusk, with nine bouts over the course of two days, the Penn Duals will be a grind.

On Saturday, the tournament starts at 8:30 a.m and runs until 7 p.m., with close to half of the day spent on or near the strip. The schedules are extended with long break sessions, which Moss said the team will utilize to physically and mentally recover.

“We will definitely be looking at that and taking advantage of those break rounds … to try to rest our team, cycle through, use our depth to manage the mental grind that that much competition over two days puts on you,” Moss said.

Returning for NU is junior foil Yvonne Chart, who missed last weekend’s Western Invitational. Chart was competing for Great Britain’s national team at a World Cup event in Katowice, Poland. Chart’s return will help offset the loss of freshman foil Sarah Filby who, coming off an undefeated day at the Western Invitational, will be competing in Quebec City at a Canada Cup competition.

Despite missing out on this tournament, Filby said she is confident the team will be successful without her.

“I think the team as a whole will rise to the challenge and step up our game to beat all these other good teams,” Filby said. “Everyone is beatable.”

This weekend will be essential in showing the team’s potential heading into the latter half of the season, Moss said.

Curzon echoed her teammates’ confidence in the Cats’ abilities. The Oregon native said this year’s team is “special” and that the team’s youngest fencers have played a major role in this development.

“The freshmen have done a great job of putting the desire to win not just on themselves but also the team,” Curzon said. “If they drop a bout, that’s okay. They put the energy back into the team, which is extremely helpful. That kind of selflessness team attitude is what makes us our group more special than previous years.”

Email: peterwarren2021@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @thepeterwarren

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