Dubrovich Ties for First in Foil at NCAA Fencing, Then Gains Bronze in Medal Round; Team Retains Ninth Place
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Gene Boyars
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jackie Dubrovich continued the high standards she set Thursday, when she tied for the lead in women's foil on Day One of the 2014 NCAA Fencing Championships, as she completed the head-to-head competition on Day Two in a three-way tie for first, and then captured a bronze medal in the subsequent medal round.
Thanks to Dubrovich and women's foil teammate Sara Taffel, Columbia was able to retain ninth place on the second day of the massive tournament in French Field House on the campus of Ohio State University. The two foilists combined for 30 of Columbia's 40 victories (points) following two days of competition.
"We would have liked to be doing better," head coach Michael Aufrichtig noted. "There are many schools who would like to be ninth in the NCAA with a bronze medal at this juncture. But at Columbia, we set high expectations."
The Lions attained their ninth place with only four fencers, two fewer than permitted. They will attack the next two days, the men's competition, with a full complement of six -- two each in sabre, foil and epee.
With 40 points, Columbia is well within reach of Temple (8th, 41) and Stanford (7th, 46). They are within hailing distance of St. John's, which is sixth with 61 points.
"We have set our sights on overtaking St. John's," Aufrichtig said. "We are going to have to fence very, very well to do that." Notre Dame's fifth place, with 72 points, is probably out of reach, although the Irish have only five men's fencers.
While Columbia is working on moving up in the NCAA standing, it must guard its rear ranks as well. Several schools could catch up to the Lions, including three Ivies -- Penn (11th, 31), Yale (12th, 29) and Brown (13th, 26) -- and the Air Force Academy, 14th with 24 points. Northwestern is right behind the Lions, 10th with 35 points, but cannot overtake them; the Wildcats don't have a men's team.
When the Columbia men take to the strips Saturday, they will have Jackie Dubrovich's superb performance as an example.
After winning 13 of 15 against the nation's best Thursday, the sophomore took six of eight Friday, against a phalanx of formidable foes. In the fourth round, she beat Irene Spezzamonte of St. John's, 5-2; All-American Mary McElwee of Air Force, 3-2; and Air Force cadet Madeleine Girardot, 5-2. She fell to Marta Hausman of St. John's, 5-3.
In the day's final round, Dubrovich came up against two Ohio State internationals, Mona Shaito and Alanna Goldie, plus foilists from Cornell and Northwestern.
Jackie struggled against the Cornellian, Angelica Gangemi, before winning in overtime, 4-3, and shut out the Northwestern fencer, 5-0. But the two Ohio State fencers, on their home turf, represented real challenges.
Dubrovich was never in the bout against Goldie, losing to the Canadian, 5-1. The bout with Shaito, who competes for Lebanon, was an evenly-matched battle, though.
Jackie scored the first three touches, leading 3-0 with just over a minute to go. Shaito fought back with a trio of her own, the third tying the bout at 3-3 with 17 seconds left in regulation time.
They were still 3-3 as overtime began, but Dubrovich required just 17 seconds to post the victorious touch.
Those three wins in the final round gave Jackie 19 for the tourney, tied with Notre Dame teammates Lee Kiefer and Madison Zeiss. That threesome, plus Alanna Gordie of Ohio State, made up the four members of the medal round.
The Lion was seeded third, matching her against Madison Zeiss, the second seed. Although Dubrovich had fenced Zeiss many times, she was unable to cope with her this time, losing 6-4 despite scoring the last three touches. When Lee Kiefer topped Goldie, 15-11, Goldie and Dubrovich were awarded ties for third place, and bronze medals. Kiefer went on to defeat Zeiss, 13-10, for the gold.
Dubrovich's foil teammate, Sara Taffel, performed well despite unfamiliarity with the grueling NCAA format. Taffel finished with an 11-12 record, good for 15th place. Neither of the Lions' other women's NCAA qualifiers, performed as well as expected. Mason Speta finished 21st in women's epee, and Sarah Yee was 24th in women's sabre.
The spotlight now shifts to the men, who begin their two days of NCAA fencing Saturday morning at 9 a.m.
Today's results:

NCAA M&W Fencing Championships (Day Two)
Friday, March 21, 2014
French Field House, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

1. Princeton, 87 victories (points); 2. Penn State, 86; 3. Ohio State, 81; 4. Harvard, 78; 5. Notre Dame, 72; 6. St. John's, 61; 7. Stanford, 46; 8. Temple, 41; 9. COLUMBIA, 40; 10. Northwestern, 35; 11. Penn 31; 12. Yale, 29; 13. Brown, 26; 14. Air Force, 24; 15. Wayne State, 12 -- 21 schools

Individual Standings (top six and Columbia fencers, with victories)

Women's Sabre
1. Adrienne Jarocki, Harvard, 18
2. Aliya Itzkowitz, Harvard, 20
3. Gracie Stone, Princeton, 17
4. Teodora Kakhiani, Penn State, 17
5. Nicole Glon, Penn State, 16
6. Alexa Antipas, Ohio State, 16
7. Tiki Kastor, Temple, 15
8. Gillian Litynski, North Carolina, 14
9, Celina Merza, Ohio State, 14
24. Sarah Yee, COLUMBIA, 2
Semifinals: Itzkowitz def. Kakhiani, 15-12; Jarocki def. Stone, 15-10
Championship Final: Jarocki def. Itzkowitz, 15-10

Women's Foil
1. Lee Kiefer, Notre Dame, 19
2. Madison Zeiss, Notre Dame, 19
3. Jackie Dubrovich, COLUMBIA, 19
4. Alanna Goldie, OSU, 16
5. Mona Shaito, Ohio State, 16
6. Alexandra Kiefer, Harvard, 16
7. Clarisse Luminet, Penn State, 15
8. Marta Hausman, St. John's, 14
15. Sara Taffel, COLUMBIA, 11
Semifinals: L. Kiefer def. Goldie, 15-11; Zeiss def. Dubrovich, 6-4
Championship Final: L. Kiefer def. Zeiss, 13-10

Women's Epee
1. Vivian Kong, Stanford, 19
2. Francesca Bassa, Stanford, 17
3. Jessie Radanovich, Penn State, 16
4. Susie Scanlan, Princeton, 18
5. Alina Ferdman, St. John's, 15
6. Isabel DiTella, Harvard, 13
7. Katherine Holmes, Princeton, 13
8. Nicole Amelie, Notre Dame, 13
21. Mason Speta, COLUMBIA, 8
Semifinals: Kong def. Radanovich, 15-8; Bassa def. Scanlan, 15-4, 15-14
Championship Final: Kong def. Bassa, 15-12