Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Fencing: No. 15 Northwestern upsets No. 2 Notre Dame at DeCicco Duals

Daily file photo by Seeger Gray
Two fencers square off in a match.

No. 15 Northwestern triumphed over three-time defending NCAA champions Notre Dame in a tight 15-12 battle at the DeCicco Duals Saturday. 

After tough losses in the Philadelphia Invitational to then-No. 5 Duke, then-No. 6 Yale and then-No. 16 Penn, coach Zach Moss said the Wildcats needed to carry themselves with confidence to stand a chance of beating the Fighting Irish. 

“We go toe-to-toe with them all the time, but they bring a confidence and swagger that if you let that impact you, it makes it really difficult,” Moss said. “So stepping out of the strip at the belief that we can beat them and are better than them, which we are, we are certainly capable of beating them.”

Strong energy and momentum from the get-go made NU’s trip east one to remember. 

The ‘Cats started swiftly with a shutout against Detroit Mercy, followed by a 24-3 slam of Denison. NU picked up another shutout against Cleveland State, then went on to beat Wayne State 20-7 and Lawrence 17-1. 

Sheer volume was one of the ‘Cats biggest motivators, Moss said.

“Basically, we were the loudest team there from beginning to end regardless of score, and that’s who we want to be,” Moss said. “That’s how we want to put ourselves out there.”

Senior saberist Levi Hoogendoorn and freshman épéeist Ava Wade-Currie both went 3-0 against Notre Dame. 

Hoogendoorn said there was additional pressure leading up to the face-off against the Fighting Irish.

“They’re always a tough school to beat,” Hoogendoorn said. “So we always try to go in and have high energy and good focus. And I personally don’t fence to them that often, so I was really excited to get the chance to fence them and see what I could do.”

Wade-Currie found success in a return to the strip after a two week medical absence. 

Moss emphasized her role in creating some of the momentum required for the Notre Dame upset. 

“Of all of our first years, she’s the person who’s gotten to do the least, and could be a big contributor for us, and she went 3-0 against Notre Dame and really helped set the tone there,” Moss said. 

Wade-Currie said her favorite part of the tournament was being able to scream with her fellow teammates after touches.

She said she also loved the return to competition.“It was really nice to be back and see all my teammates, and be able to cheer them on. It was just a really great time,” Wade-Currie said. 

Next weekend, the ‘Cats will fence in Ryan Fieldhouse at the Northwestern Duals, one of their longest meets of the year. They’ll face Notre Dame again–this time with home turf advantage. Other ranked teams include No. 10 Penn State, No. 14 Temple, No. 9 Cornell and No. 16 Ohio State.

It’ll be a weekend of both competition and celebration for the ‘Cats, as they’ll honor seniors Sunday before their last duel and enjoy support from family and friends at one of their few home meets. 

Hoogendoorn said she looks forward to seeing her twin sister Sterre Hoogendoorn, a saberist for Cornell. 

“We’re like best friends,” Hoogendoorn said. “It’s really nice to see her and have her there, and I know that she’s supporting me even though we’re on different teams.”

Email: @[email protected] 

Twitter: @roselcarlson

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