Fencing: Northwestern dominates Western Invitational, falls short at Penn Duals


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

A Northwestern fencer faces off with her opponent. The Wildcats have faced a difficult slate of matchups so far.

Carlos Stinson-Maas, Reporter


Northwestern has had an exceptionally difficult schedule to start their season. In just over 20 matches, they’ve faced seven top-10 opponents.

On Jan. 12, the Wildcats (13-8) traveled to San Diego to compete in the Western Invitational, where they took on Stanford, Florida, Incarnate Word, Air Force and UCSD.

Although none of those teams are ranked in the top ten, Stanford and UCSD are two of only 18 teams receiving votes in the most recent College Fencing 360 Coaches Poll — NU is ranked ninth.

The Cats delivered, converting dominant wins in every match.

“Air Force, Stanford and UCSD are all strong,” coach Zach Moss said ahead of the invitational. “But I would like us to go undefeated on the weekend.”

Freshman foil Anna Biasco went 12-0, and junior foil Sarah Filby also went unbeaten, winning all eight of her matchups.

Senior sabre Abby Tartell led her event with a 10-1 record, and sophomore Natalie Kim led the epee team with seven wins.

In all, NU went 74-7 against Stanford, Incarnate Word and Florida. They beat Air Force by five games and completed the sweep with a 21-6 win over UCSD.

“We have a really good group, and we’re building in a really good way,” Moss said. “I’m excited to continue to see that grow.”

On Jan. 19, the Cats took on No. 10 Penn, Drew, No. 7 Temple, No. 3 Columbia and Brandeis in Philadelphia at the Penn Duals.

NU blew out unranked Drew and eked out a 14-13 win over Brandeis, but they went 0-3 against ranked opponents.

Against No. 7 Temple, the Cats stuck with the Owls in foil and epee, going 9-9 in those events. However, they lost 8-1 in sabre, eventually falling 17-10.

The sabre team again came up short against No. 3 Colombia, falling 6-3 en route to a 15-12 loss.

The closest match of the day came against the host team, No. 10 Penn. NU kept it competitive throughout the match, but lost 14-13, falling to 2-3 overall on the day.

Sophomore Emma Scala paced the Cats in epee, going 9-1 in the tournament. Filby and sophomore foil Alyssa Chen both finished 7-4.

NU finished about on par with their No. 9 ranking, but the team has now gone 1-7 against top-10 opponents this season.

Moss said the team is continuing to improve even in their losses.

“A lot of people on the team were asked to step into roles that were new to them,” Moss said. “Getting that experience pays off in the long run.”

The Cats will travel to South Bend on Saturday to compete in the Decicco Duals and will look to preserve their ranking in the coming weeks.

“It’s a little bit of a building year for us, just based on our results so far,” Moss said. “But I think we can be in a really good place come postseason.”

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @thepresidito