November 10, 2013

Strong showing for women's fencing at Vassar Invitational

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Haverford College women's fencing team won six of seven matches at the Vassar (College) Invitational on Sunday.

The Fords defeated the host Brewers, Wellesley College, Farleigh Dickinson University, and West Point, as well as Eastern Women's Fencing Conference (EWFC) rivals Hunter College and Yeshiva University. Haverford's only loss came at the hands of Division I powerhouse Cornell University, although the Fords' epee squad triumphed over the Big Red by the score of 5-3.

In the first round, the epeeists struggled to find their early footing, losing to Vassar 4-5, but the team's overall win was secured by a 5-4 foil victory, and a stellar performance by the young sabre squad, who trounced the Brewers 9-0, for an 18-9 finish.  In the second round, against Cornell, the epeeists found their groove for the rest of the day, as Anjali Baliga went 3-0. Foilist co-captain Katie Elbert had what was the victory of the day, the lone foil win from any team against Cornell's April Whitney. Whitney, a three-time NCAA National qualifier, ranked 22nd in the country in USFA (United States Fencing Association) women's foil, and 77th in the world as a junior by the FIE (Federation Internationale d'Escrime), was easily handled by Elbert, who dispatched her 5-3.  

The swinging sabres of the Army women were too much for the inexperienced Haverford sabrists in the third round, who dropped 2-7 to the Black Knights, but the epee and foil squads handled West Point with aplomb, scoring perfect 9-0 wins for a 20-7 finish. The Fords' closest match of the day came next against Farleigh Dickinson, with close matches in every weapon as Haverford triumphed 16-11. After trouncing Yeshiva 24-3, the Fords had another good match-up against Wellesley, coming out ahead 18-9. In the last round, Haverford dominated EWFC rival Hunter 24-3, with both the epee and foil squads going undefeated. 

The sabre fencers were led in no uncertain fashion by senior Shannon Horn, who finished the day at 11-3 (2-1 against Cornell), all the while coaching her young apprentices to victory bout after bout. While Baliga led the epeeists at 14-1, the depth of that squad is indicated by her teammates' records, as both Sarah Sofia and Julie Petersen were 13-3, and freshman Alexis Auer posted an 11-5 mark. Having downed D-I rivals Cornell and FDU, the epee squad is living up to the hype of being a serious challenge to every squad in the nation. Foilist Katie Elbert at 11-3 continues to dominate her opponents, while her teammates have improved immensely, especially sophomore walk-on Julie Ta, who posted a 6-1 record.

The Haverford women's team will compete next Saturday at home at the Haverford Invitational.

Haverford def. Vassar, 18-9
Epee: 4-5
Foil: 5-4
Sabre: 9-0

Cornell def. Haverford, 19-8
E: 4-5 
F: 8-1
S: 7-2 

Haverford def. West Point, 20-7
E: 9-0
F: 9-0
S: 2-7

Haverford def. Farleigh Dickinson, 16-11
E: 7-2
F: 5-4
S: 4-5

Haverford def. Yeshiva, 24-3
E: 9-0
F: 8-1
S: 7-2

Haverford def. Wellesley, 18-9
E: 8-1
F: 7-2
S: 3-6

Haverford def. Hunter, 24-3
E: 9-0
F: 9-0
S: 6-3