GREENWICH VILLAGE, N.Y. -- Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, but the Columbia fencers did anything but rest on Sunday, January 22, when they competed in 10 matches at the NYU Invitational at Coles Sports Center.
The NYU event was the second in as many days for Columbia and several other schools, many of which are national collegiate fencing powerhouses. The Lion women led the way with a 3-2 record, while the men were 1-4. Both teams went 2-3 at Saturday's St. John;s Super Cup.
The women recorded wins over Penn State and Harvard Saturday. When both teams departed for home, skipping the NYU contest, the Lions were forced to pinpoint other prey. They routed Wayne State, 20-7; surprised Northwestern in a 14-13 squeaker; and shocked Notre Dame with a 15-12 victory after falling to the Fighting Irish Saturday, 20-7.
"Sabre went from three wins Saturday to seven Sunday," head coach Michael Aufrichtig noted. "Foil, which won two bouts Saturday, stepped it up to four wins, and epee stayed strong."
Aufrichtig also cited the women's efforts against Ohio State. Not only did the Lions stay with the powerful Buckeyes both days, they put consecutive scares into the Ohioans, just missing wins, as OSU eked out twin 14-13 victories.
The Columbia men were beaten badly by Notre Dame (21-6) and Ohio State (18-9), relinquished a 10-8 lead against North Carolina to lose, 17-10, and saw St. John's, a 14-13 victim of the Lions Saturday, rebound for a win Sunday, also by a 14-13 margin. Columbia's lone triumph was over Wayne State, 21-6.
But the coach was hardly depressed.
"Yesterday, our fencers set out to make a statement," he said." And they did. Today was more a question of conditioning. We don't have the depth to give people some rest.
"Even being tired, though, our men put up a great fight. Especially the foil team, which stepped it up. I'm really proud of the entire team."
Sophomore epeeist Alen Hadzic, just 8-7 Saturday, improved to a men's team-best 10-5 Sunday. Sophomore Alex Pensler was 8-7, winning six of his last seven bouts in foil, and sabre boasted three leaders -- first-years Michael Josephs, 7-6, and Will Spear, 5-6, and sophomore Mel Rodriguez 6-6.
Hadzik posted perfect 3-0 records in two different bouts, vs. Ohio State and Wayne State. Three other Lions went 3-0 against Detroit-based Wayne State -- senior co-captain Sean Leahy in epee; Pensler in foil; and newcomer Raymond Cai in sabre. Both sabre and epee won eight of nine against Wayne State, and sabre went 6-3 vs. St. John's.
The sabre squad provided most of the firepower on the women's side. Sabre was 8-1 vs. Wayne State, 7-2 against both Northwestern and Notre Dame, and 5-4 in its two other matches, for a grand total of 32-13!
Junior Loweye Diedro won 12 of 15 bouts Sunday, her sister Essane won eight of 13, and Roberts took nine of 12. Both Loweye Diedro and Roberts went 3-0 in pacing the victory over Notre Dame.
Aufrichtig expressed admiration not only for his fencers' victory total, but for the quality of their bouts. Even the ones they lost, he explained. "I noticed that a lot of bouts went down to a 4-4 tie before our opponents scored that winning fifth touch," he said. "There were very few 5-0 bouts."
"But it's going to start going our way," he stated, with confidence. "We just need more experience and depth. And more practice."
Columbia Fencing will take a break from competition until Wednesday, February 8, when it hosts Sacred Heart, Vassar and NYU on Morningside Heights. The first bout, against Vassar, begins at 4 PM.
Today's scores and leaders:
Jerome Coles Sports Center
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Men's Fencing (1-4)
10-17 North Carolina, 6-21 Notre Dame, 9-18 Ohio State, 21-6 Wayne State, 13-14 St. John's
Leaders: Alen Hadzic (E), 10-5; Alex Pensler (F), 8-7; Michael Josephs (S), 7-6; Mel Rodriguez (S), 6-6
Women's Fencing (3-2)
14-13 Northwestern, 15-12 Notre Dame, 13-14 Ohio State, 20-7 Wayne State, 9-18 St. John's
Leaders: Loweye Diedro (S), 12-3; Sammy Roberts (S), 9-3; Essane Diedro (S), 8-5; D'Meca Homer (F), 8-7; Katya English (E), 7-4; Lydia Kopecky (E), 7-5