Fencing: Northwestern dominates in first home duals

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Daily file photo by Evan Robinson-Johnson

Northwestern records a point against Denison at last year’s NU Duals in Ryan Fieldhouse. The Wildcats had a mixed weekend, falling to Notre Dame before taking down Lawrence handedly.

Carlos Stinson-Maas, Reporter


Fencing


Northwestern entered this weekend looking to turn its losing record around in the newly renovated Patten Gymnasium.

The Cats (6-4) dominated, winning all four contests against Wayne State (0-11) and Lawrence (2-2). The convincing victories don’t come as a surprise — NU has beaten both schools by at least seven points in every meeting in the past decade, including four 27-0 sweeps.

While the team was confident heading into the weekend slate, they weren’t taking their opponents for granted.

“Who is on the other side of the strip doesn’t change how you approach,” coach Zach Moss said. “They have athletes who are good competitors, and if you don’t manage yourself well they’ll beat you.”

The Cats kicked off the weekend with two matchups against Wayne State and finished nearly perfect in both, winning 26-1 and 27-0.

Later in the day, NU took on Lawrence in a pair of contests, emerging victorious in both games by scores of 22-5 and 25-2. They also faced off against a familiar face: Eric Momberg, the newly installed head coach at Lawrence, who served as an assistant at Northwestern from 2016-2020 and won the USA Fencing Regional Spirit of Sport award last season.

The Cats went 100-8 on the day, extending their season-long streak of scoring at least 9 points in every contest. The sabre team went undefeated, and the foil unit dropped just two bouts. The Cats were led by freshman epee Sophie Brill, who went 8-0 on the day.

Moss said the team maintained a positive mentality, which contributed to its success.

“They did a really good job of supporting each other,” he said. “The focus and intensity that they brought to the strip, and the overall attitude, was really good.”

The matches were NU’s first at-home games in over a year. The Cats played their home games at the Ryan Fieldhouse and in Glenview.

“This is our first competition ever in Patten Gym,” Moss said. “It was really exciting, and a really fun process for them to experience.”

NU will face Lawrence and Wayne State again later this season. They’ll go up against Notre Dame next weekend, who Moss called the best team in the country. Despite several close contests, the Fighting Irish have defeated NU in every meeting in the last ten years.

“We’re gonna see them three or four times, so I’m excited to see how that goes,” he said. “That’s a good test for the NCAA championships, because that’s the ultimate goal.”

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