Fencing: Northwestern comes out victorious at DeCicco Duals tournament


Daily file photo by Brian Meng

Northwestern celebrates after a bout. The Cats had great success this past weekend, defeating top-ranked Notre Dame.

Aayushya Agarwal, Reporter

Calling Northwestern’s performance at last weekend’s fencing tournament a bounce-back would be an understatement.

The Wildcats traveled to South Bend, Ind. to participate in the DeCicco Duals tournament. They competed against several top fencing programs, including No. 1 Notre Dame. Against all expectations, NU stole the show, winning the tournament undefeated and outlasting even the Fighting Irish.

Some notable performances came from sophomore saber Sky Miller and junior foil Anna Biasco, who won all of their bouts against Notre Dame. Epee members Asha Henry and Hannah Lipthay, both freshmen, each went 2-1 and played a critical role in their respective matchups versus the nation’s top fencing program.

Coach Zach Moss was ecstatic about his team’s performance. He said he was proud of the adversity his team overcame after a below-standard invitational in Philadelphia the weekend prior.

“This was a really good showing by our team,” Moss said. “Stepping onto (Notre Dame’s) home stripes and beating them is no small feat.”

Moss’s players shared his enthusiasm following the weekend’s success in hopes that it can foster stronger performances for the rest of the season.

Saber Levi Hoogendoorn highlighted the team’s commitment during practices and how it translated into successful results on the mat. She said the team’s consistent mindset, regardless of its success, keeps it moving forward.

“We all see (this past weekend’s success) as a result of the process that we have been following the whole season, where we fence not for results, but for executing the strategies and techniques that we have been doing,” Hoogendoorn said. “Whether we lose all of our matches like last weekend or go undefeated like this weekend, we still give it everything we have.”

Nonetheless, the team understands how important the conference in Philadelphia was for the team’s success in South Bend.

Moss said the disappointing results motivated the team to perform at the highest level they are capable of.

“The meet in Philadelphia was an important experience that we were able to build on,” Moss said. “Our process and approach are unchanged as a team, but our belief and experience level (have) increased over the past two weekends.”

Moss believes last weekend’s success has provided a glimpse of the program’s capabilities for the rest of the season. The team believes it can go far as it gains more momentum.

Moss said he hopes the victory was the turning point in a promising season.

“While we haven’t been able to hit that mark consistently yet, we are building towards the postseason and getting the experience we need to be successful there,” Moss said. “We have some tough competition, but we can go toe-to-toe with anyone.”

This weekend, the Cats will host their first home tournament in Ryan Fieldhouse, squaring off against several top programs such as No. 5 Ohio State, No. 8 Temple and No. 9 Cornell. The high level of competition is consistent with the opponents that NU has matched up against over the past several weeks.

Biasco said she’d love for the student body to attend the matches and learn more about the program and fencing as a whole.

“Having people come and watch brings up our energy even more,” Biasco said. “It is especially exciting when people come who have never seen fencing before.”

Another reason to attend for students to attend this weekend is to honor the fencing senior class on Saturday. The team’s annual senior day festivities will commence at 12:45 p.m., before a senior meet against Fairleigh Dickinson.

Both the men’s and women’s competition will feature multiple top ten teams, as well as several Olympians. Moss hopes students will come to support his team while also being able to watch some of the best college fencers from across the country.

“This weekend is an amazing opportunity to see high level fencing right in our very own beautiful Ryan Fieldhouse,” Moss said. “(It’s) such a cool chance to see some of the highest level fencing in the world right here in Evanston.”

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