Round five brought back the men’s team into action against the Nittany Lions. The men failed to get going, falling 25-2, while the women’s team gave Penn State a stronger fight, only falling 17-10.
In the team’s final match of the day, UNC finished strong, with a sweep of Haverford, the women winning 25-2 and the men winning 18-9.
Who stood out?
Head coach Ron Miller was impressed with the women’s sabre squad, which he said helped carry the women’s team throughout the day. Senior Sarah Hanvy led with an 8-4 record, while first-year Jackie Litynski also turned a strong performance at 7-5. Junior Diana Philpot rounded out the squad at 6-3.
For the men, Miller said that senior Michael Slonim performed well in the epee squad, finishing with a 7-7 record on the day.
When was it decided?
Miller said about a third of UNC’s bouts in the meet went to 5-4 on points, the closest possible score in a bout. Of those bouts, Miller said, the Tar Heels only won about 30 to 35 percent of the time. Miller stressed that UNC’s inability to close out these bouts hurt the Tar Heels down the stretch, but it also meant his teams performed a lot better than the overall scores would suggest.
Ultimately, that inability to win close bouts consistently is what hurt the Tar Heels in most of their matches.
Why does it matter?
The Penn State dual meets offered the Tar Heels a chance to face off against some of the top teams in the country. Miller said he likes to schedule these meets ahead of postseason play to gauge what his teams will be up against in conference and NCAA championships.
Miller said the teams have improved their performance from meets against similar competition before winter break, adding that the men’s team in particular is just getting healthy from some injuries. So while the results weren’t ideal, he felt the team was improving at a good rate, which is what he wants at this point in the season.
Where do they play next?
UNC will travel to Philadelphia Sunday to participate in the Philadelphia Invitational at 8 a.m.