Fencing: Wildcats set school record for wins in Philadelphia


Source: Northwestern Athletics

A Northwestern fencer dodges an attack. The Wildcats did plenty of that this past weekend at the Philadelphia Invitational, going 9-1 against top competition.

Peter Warren, Assistant Sports Editor


For the third weekend in a row, Northwestern put on an impressive performance, this time at the Philadelphia Invitational.

The Wildcats broke a school record with 25 consecutive wins and finished their weekend with a 9-1 record.

“It (was) a great team performance,” coach Zach Moss said. “We fenced a lot of strong opponents: a couple of teams ranked in the top 10, a couple of teams just outside of the top 10.”

NU, ranked No. 8 in the first poll of the season released Saturday, faced three fellow top-10 teams: No. 2 Columbia, No. 7 Temple and No. 9 Penn. The Cats also fenced three teams that received votes in the poll: Cornell, New York University and Yale.

Despite its tough competition, NU set the record-winning streak before falling to Columbia in the second-to-last dual of the weekend. The streak began back in November at the Elite Invitational.

“Originally, I wasn’t really aware of it until we got to about 19,” junior Yvonne Chart said. “When we’re actually fencing over the weekend, it wasn’t something we were focusing on. It happened because we were fencing well.”

After the loss to Columbia, the Cats faced another challenge in Yale. After falling behind early, they staged a comeback, highlighted by freshman foil Justine Banbury’s win in the final bout to secure the team victory.

Moss said the most important quality the team showed over the weekend was consistency and highlighted the Yale win as a good example.

“We lost a really tough match to Columbia,” Moss said. “To bounce back and keep fighting and clawing out against Yale in the last match of the day even though we were really tired, that takes a high level of consistency.”

Other than its matchups against Columbia and Yale, NU dominated its opponents. The Cats blew out Drew 26-1, Fairleigh Dickinson 23-4 and Cornell 22-5. They defeated fellow ranked teams Temple and Penn, 16-11 each.

All three NU squads fenced well throughout the weekend, as they dropped only five squad matchups of the 27 in the invitational. Chart, junior Sharon Chen and freshman Sofia Simontov led the foil squad, which lost their only matchup to the Lions. Simontov finished the day with 13 victories while Chart and Chen racked up 12 wins each.

“We are losing fewer bouts,” Chart said. “Our team dynamic has improved drastically and that has really helped us to improve our results.”

Freshman sabre Alexis Browne finished with a team-high 15 individual wins, while three other sabres and four epees reached double-digit wins.

With the team rolling through competition over the past few weeks, Moss said he credits the commitment the team has shown to his and his coaching staff’s system.

“The team is really buying into the process that we put forward on how we are developing,” Moss said. “The results this weekend and (the) 25-match win streak really demonstrate that we can hang with anyone in the country and we can be a perennial top-5 team if we can continue to display that level of consistency and trust our process.”

Correction: A previous version of this story misstated when the first poll of the season was released. It was Saturday. The Daily regrets the error.

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