STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - The Haverford College men's fencing team traveled to Penn State University on Saturday to take on the cream of the East Coast fencing crop at the Penn State Invitational.
The Fords got their first look of the season at their Division I foes from the Mid-Atlantic Region starting with a resurgent Columbia team that is once again a contender for the national title for the first time in a decade. Wins against the Lions came from co-captain James Nieuwland, in the epee, and freshman Baptiste Teyssier, in the foil. Sabrist Aaron Ruby suffered two narrow 4-5 losses in the match.
Senior Ruby reversed the trend and won two close bouts in the next match, against powerhouse Duke. While Ruby's wins were the sum total for both the sabre and epee against Duke, the foil squad almost pulled off the upset, losing the squad match just 4-5, as Teyssier again led the foils with two wins. Squad leader Sam Levinson and sophomore Max Findley each contributed a victory as well against the Blue Devils.
The closest match-up of the day came in the third round, as University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill edged the Fords, 14-13. Nieuwland led the way with three wins in the epee, while every sabre starter--Ruby, Joshua Nadel and co-captain Linus Marco--earned a win each. The foil squad registered a standout performance against UNC, trouncing the Tar Heels 7-2, as Findley went undefeated and Levinson and Teyssier picked up two of three apiece.
After the heartbreaker with UNC, the Fords dropped back-to-back contests against the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State. Ruby and Nieuwland each had a win against the Quakers but the story of the match was Findley's clean sweep with three wins against UPenn's strong foil squad.
Host Penn State showed why it has laid claim to 15 national titles as it dropped bouts only to epeeists Nieuwland and Warren Schwartz.
Nieuwland (5-7 on the day), Findley (7-8), Ruby (4-9) and Teyssier (5-10) have greatly improved their seeding into the NCAA Regionals to be held in March with multiple wins on the day against highly ranked opponents. That improvement, plus having the opportunity to see the most likely qualifiers from the region, has increased all of their chances to qualify to NCAA Nationals. The Fords will cross paths with most of these teams again at their next outing, the Philadelphia Invitational, held at Temple University on Jan. 26.
Columbia def. Haverford, 25-2
Duke def. Haverford, 21-6
UNC def. Haverford, 14-13
UPenn def. Haverford, 22-5
PSU def. Haverford, 25-2