Fencing: Northwestern finishes an impressive 6-1 at DeCicco Duals


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

A Northwestern fencer prepares to duel. The Wildcats participated last weekend in the DeCicco Duals.

Carlos Stinson-Maas, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern entered this weekend’s DeCicco Duals in South Bend with a clear goal: beat No. 1 Notre Dame.

The No. 9 Cats failed to do so, coming up just short in a 14-13 defeat. Despite the loss to the Fighting Irish, NU (19-9) defeated its other six opponents at the duals, finishing with a 6-1 record overall.

The score “14-13” has been something of a trend this season for the Cats. They’ve lost four matches by that score, all to top-ten teams.

“If a couple of breaks go a different way, we could get some really good outcomes,” coach Zach Moss said. “It’s a challenging and positive experience at the same time.”

NU’s epee squad finished 7-2 against Notre Dame, but a 2-7 performance in sabre sunk the Cats.

NU fared well in the rest of the tournament, going 129-33 in the rest of their games. Junior sabre Jacqueline Hua and senior epee Adelle Berdichevsky both finished 9-0 on the day, and freshman foil Isabelle Banin went 8-0.

The Cats first took on Wayne State, winning 21-6. A sweep from Banin helped NU to a 17-10 victory over Cleveland State despite a 1-8 showing in epee.

The Cats proceeded to handily beat Denison, going undefeated in both foil and sabre en route to a 25-2 trouncing. Banin once again notched a 3-0 sweep.

The dominance continued against Lawrence, a team NU defeated 26-1 back at the Fall NU Duals. This match was a bit closer, but Berdichevsky and Hua both completed sweeps to lead the Cats to a 17-10 victory.

After the close loss to Notre Dame, NU took on Florida. The Cats beat the Gators 25-2 back on Jan. 12 — history repeated itself, as once again NU clinched a 25-2 win.

The Cats took on Detroit Mercy in their final match of the day, and they pulled out a 24-3 rout of the Titans.

“We saw some really good stuff and definitely saw some opportunity for growth,” Moss said. “So I’m feeling pretty good about it.”

Earlier this year, Moss said he expects a top-ten finish from NU. The Cats entered the DeCicco Duals ranked ninth in the country, and the 6-1 performance likely won’t hurt their ranking.

However, they have a huge test this weekend, as they’ll host some of the best teams in the country on Feb. 1 at the NU Duals.

NU will fence in 12 matches, four coming against top-ten teams and another four coming against teams receiving top-ten votes.

The Cats will get a chance at revenge, as they’ll once again face No. 1 Notre Dame on Saturday.

Despite the difficult schedule, Moss said he thinks the team has a good chance to make a run in the NCAA tournament in March.

“I think we should find some pretty good success over the coming weeks,” Moss said.

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