NEW YORK – With final exams and the holiday break behind them, the Columbia fencing squads will return to the strips this Sunday at the Penn State Invitational on Jan. 12.

Both teams will square off against the likes of the host Nittany Lions, Haverford, Drew, Duke and North Carolina. In addition, the women will take on Temple.

“Penn State is historically a strong team,” stated head coach Michael Aufrichtig. “I’m excited that we’ll get to fence them first. We have to be ready and it’ll be good for us to face a strong team like that early in the morning. The other schools have a good number of talented individuals and this will be provide good competition, but I feel like our team is deeper and we should have a successful showing.”

Columbia swept all 10 matches at the Brandeis Invitational in a dominating performance. The Lions beat Brandeis, Boston College, MIT, Johns Hopkins and Air Force. The men’s team saw four members of the squad go unbeaten at the tournament (Adam Mathieu 9-0, Alex Pensler 9-0, Michael Josephs 6-0, Geoffrey Loss 6-0), while the women had two fencers go unblemished (Jackie Dubrovich 12-0, Sara Taffel).

, who only boasts a women’s squad, had two top-25 finishers at the North American Cup in November. The Owls went 3-1 at the Sacred Heart Invitational, with the help of an undefeated foil team.

The Haverford men are 9-4 on the season, sweeping their last 2 events. The women are 10-1 for the season, bringing four 2012-13 EWFC first team all-stars to the competition.

Penn State brought home a total of four medals from the December North American Cup, two for the men and two for the women. Four members of the women's team competed and finished in the top-25 of the NCAA Championships last season, with two finishing in the top-10 of their events. The men swept all five teams at their last non-national event at Sacred Heart in December.

The Drew men have been off since the Haverford Invitational on Nov. 16. As a team, the Rangers are winless (0-5), but their foilists boast an impressive 4-1 record, including a win over NYU on Nov. 7. The women’s team is 0-3 in dual matches and have not fenced since Dec. 8 at the NIFWA Winter Tournament at Rutgers.

Duke has not competed collegiately this season.

Sunday will mark North Carolina’s first dual matches of the season after participating in three individual tournaments in the fall. The Tar Heels’ best showing thus far was in the men’s sabre at the Temple Open, where Sam Austin won the event and teammates Nate Wiecha and Mason Erb taking second and third, respectively.

A trio of Columbia fencers are coming off of strong outings at the Junior World Cup in Udine, Italy last weekend. Adam Mathieu captured eighth place in the foil, Justin Wan took 15th in the epee and Geoffrey Loss finished 27th in the sabre.

After posting a 12-0 record at the Brandeis Invitational and winning gold at the North American Cup, sophomore Jackie Dubrovich was named Columbia’s Female Student-Athlete of the Month for December. The Riverdale, N.J., native leads the squad with an 18-0 mark this season.