Men's Fencing Still Unbeaten After Five Wins at Penn State Invite Raise Record to 13-0; Women's Squad Goes to 9-3
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin
STATE COLLEGE, PA. -- The Columbia men's fencing team got the Lions off to a great start Sunday with a 15-12 defeat of Penn State, third in the nation last season, at the Penn State Invitational, and went on to go undefeated in five matches, running its season record to 13-0.
Although the women's team lost two decisions, to the host Nittany Lions and Temple, it won three to improve its won-lost record to 9-3.
As epeeist Justin Wan noted, "Everybody seems to have been on their game."
None more so than the women's foil squad. With NCAA finalist Jackie Dubrovich, Olympian Nzingha Prescod, and international standout Margaret Lu in fine form, the foilists won 42 of 45 bouts. They posted perfect 9-0 records against Duke, North Carolina, Haverford, and Temple.
Their only "misstep" came against Penn State, but they still won six of the nine bouts against the Nittany Lions. Lu's 12-0 record, with her parents looking on, led all Lion fencers for the day; Dubrovich was 11-1, Prescod was a perfect 6-0 when she wasn't fencing sabre, first-year Sara Taffel was 7-2, and her fellow freshman, Jessie Laffey, was 6-0.
The men's team was paced by its sabre squad, which won 37 of 45 bouts, and men's epee, with 33 wins in 45 bouts. First-year Chris Ahn won all nine of his bouts to lead sabre, followed by seniors Melvin Rodriguez, 8-1, and sophomore Rienzi Gokea, 7-2. Junior Andrei Tapai matched Ahn's 9-0 record with one of his own in epee, as three sophomores posted 7-2 records in the weapon -- Brian Ro, Jake Hoyle, and Angad Singh.
Men's foil put on a yeoman performance during the long day. When an injury limited Conor Beckerman to just one match, the trio of  Adam Mathieu, Harry Bergman and Drew Johnston was forced to fence all remaining matches, with no substitutes to give them a rest.
Mathieu and Bergman both fenced 15 bouts, Mathieu winning 11 and Bergman 10, while Johnston also won 10, in 12 bouts.
Sabre supplied the spark that ignited Columbia's day when it took on the powerful Penn State team. Sophomore Geoffrey Loss ran up against the Nittany Lions' vaunted  Adrian Bak, in the first bout, posting a huge touch to break a 4-4 tie and defeat the All-American, 5-4. Junior Will Spear then edged Alex Schneller, also by 5-4, and junior Michael Josephs beat Kaito Streets, 5-3.
The sabremen kept the pressure on in the next round, as Loss topped Schneller, 5-3, and Josephs beat Bak, 5-3, giving Columbia five straight sabre victories. Penn State then won three straight of its own, but Spear captured the final bout, a vital 5-3 decision over Pawel Puchalski, to give Columbia a 6-3 record in men's sabre.
Men's epee didn't get off to a torrid start, as sabre did, but the Lion epee squad showed pure consistency. They won two of three bouts in the first round, two of three in the second, and yet another two of three in the third round, for a 6-3 record, the same as sabre's. Brian Ro, Justin Wan, and Jake Hoyle each went 2-1.
Epee continued to excel throughout the afternoon, winning all nine of its bouts against Drew and eight of nine against Haverford. It finished with a 33-12 record.
Hurt by its inexperienced sabre squad, the women's team lost its opener to Penn State, 17-10. The women rebounded, however, beating Haverford, North Carolina and Duke handily, by a combined 63-18. They missed by one bout of closing out the day on a winning note when they fell to the Temple Owls in an emotional clash, 14-13.
The foil squad of Prescod, Lu and Dubrovich went 9-0 against the Owls, but sabre was 0-9. Epee was 4-5, getting one win each from Mason Speta and Nina Moiseiwitsch, plus two from junior Diana Tsinis.
Tsinis's second victory was a gutsy affair in which she rallied twice, one to force overtime, the other to win it.
The epeeists got off very slowly against the Owls, losing their first five bouts. Tsinis stopped the slide, though, with a raucous, pressure-packed victory that ended in regulation tied 1-1, but was awarded to Tsinis when Temple fencer Rachel Clark was unable to score in overtime.
In the final round, Speta, Tsinis, and Moiseiwitsch all posted wins, but Temple took the match.
Head coach Michael Aufrichtig was encouraged by his teams' showing, not only in terms of wins, but participation as well. "We wanted to experiment with lineups," he said. "We fenced a lot of bouts."
Columbia will leave collegiate fencing this weekend to compete in the North American Cup in Virginia Beach, Va. The Lions return for the two most grueling days of the season, the back-to-back "multi-meets" at NYU Saturday, January 25, and at St. John's, Sunday, Jan. 26.
The Lions will have a rematch with Penn State at St. John's, as well as contests with Notre Dame, Ohio State, Harvard and St. John's. In the NYU event, the Lions will face North Carolina again, plus Ohio State, St. John's, Notre Dame, Wayne State and Northwestern.

Today's results:

Penn State Invitational
(Columbia, Penn State, Haverford, North Carolina, Duke, Temple, Drew)
The White Building, Penn State University, State College, Pa.
Sunday, January 12, 2014

MEN'S TEAM (5-0)
15-12 Penn State, 23-4 Haverford, 20-7 North Carolina, 16-11 Duke, 27-0 Drew
10-17 Penn State, 23-4 Haverford, 21-6 North Carolina, 19-8  Duke, 13-14 Temple


Columbia 15, Penn State 12
S: Loss 2-1, Josephs 2-1, Spear 2-1 (6-3 combined)
F: Mathieu 1-2, Bergman 1-2, Johnston 1-2 (3-6)
E: Ro 2-1, Wan 2-1, Hoyle 2-1 (6-3)

Columbia 23, Haverford 4
S: Gokea 3-0, Ahn 3-0, Rodriguez 3-0 (9-0)
F: Mathieu 3-0, Bergman 3-0, Beckerman 0-3 (6-3)
E: Ro 3-0, Tapai 3-0, Singh 2-1 (8-1)

Columbia 20, North Carolina 7
S: Gokea 1-2, Ahn 3-0, Rodriguez 2-1 (6-3)
F: Mathieu 2-1, Bergman 3-0, Johnston 3-0 (8-1)
E: Tapai 3-0, Singh 2-1, Wan 1-2 (6-3)

Columbia 16, Duke 11
S: Loss 2-1, Josephs 3-0, Spear 2-1 (7-2)
F: Mathieu 2-1, Bergman 0-3, Johnston 3-0 (5-4)
E: Ro 2-1, Wan  0-3, Hoyle 2-1 (4-5)

Columbia 27, Drew 0
S: Gokea 3-0, Ahn 3-0, Rodriguez 3-0 (9-0)
F: Mathieu 3-0, Bergman 3-0, Johnston 3-0 (9-0)
E: Tapai 3-0, Hoyle 3-0, Singh 3-0 (9-0)

Leaders: Mathieu 11-4, Johnston 10-2, Bergman 10-5, Ahn 9-0, Tapai 9-0, Rodriguez 8-1, Gokea 7-2, Ro 7-2, Hoyle 7-2, Singh 7-2


Penn State 17, Columbia 10
S: Prescod 1-2, Yee 0-3, Boenning 0-3 (1-8)
F: Lu 3-0, Dubrovich 2-1, Taffel 1-2 (6-3)
E: Tsinis 1-2, Speta 2-1, Rand 0-3 (3-6)

Columbia 23, Haverford 4
S: Yee 2-1, Boenning 2-1, Freeman 1-2 (6-3)
F: Lu 3-0, Taffel 3-0, Laffey 3-0 (9-0)
E: Tsinis 3-0, Speta 3-0, Moiseiwitsch (2-1)

Columbia 21, North Carolina 6
S: Prescod 1-1, Yee 1-2, Boenning 2-1, Freeman 0-1 (4-5)
F: Dubrovich 3-0, Taffel 3-0, Laffey 3-0 (9-0)
E: Tsinis 1-0, Speta 2-0, Rand 3-0, Moiseiwitsch 2-1 (8-1)

Columbia 19, Duke 8
S: Yee 2-1, Boenning 2-1, Freeman 0-3 (4-5)
F: Prescod 3-0, Dubrovich 3-0, Lu 3-0 (9-0)
E: Tsinis 1-2, Speta 3-0, Rand 2-1 (6-3)

Temple 14, Columbia 13
S: Yee 0-3, Boenning 0-3, Freeman 0-3 (0-9)
F: Prescod 3-0, Lu 3-0, Dubrovich 3-0 (9-0)
E: Tsinis 2-1, Rand 0-1, Speta 1-1, Moiseiwitsch 1-2 (4-5)

Leaders: Lu 12-0, Dubrovich 11-1, Speta 11-2, Prescod 8-3 (sabre & foil), Tsinis 8-5, Taffel 7-2, Laffey 6-0, Yee 6-9, Boenning 6-9