The North Carolina fencing teams started off their regular seasons this weekend with meets at Vassar in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., and at Brandeis in Waltham, Mass.
The Tar Heel squads had mixed success both days, but the learning experience the teams gained together from the weekend was a valuable one.
“It’s good for the freshmen and some people with less experience to get out there and realize what to expect from some of these teams and the hard work it’ll take to beat them,” junior Jonathan Blake said.
On Saturday, the men’s team lost to Pennsylvania and Harvard but recorded wins against NYU, Sacred Heart and Vassar.
“We won the meets on Saturday that we should have and lost the ones that I guess were expected,” Blake said. “We really couldn’t complete an upset.”
Having meets on back-to-back days seemed to take its toll.
“Sunday was a little bit worse,” Blake said. “We kind of struggled. Everyone seemed to be a little tired and worn out, but a lot of people still really fought hard.”
The men went 2-3 on Sunday, beating Boston College and Brandeis and losing to Yale, MIT and Brown.
Junior Kacie Albert said the back-to-back meets were difficult, and everyone was a little broken down after Saturday. But she said it’s something the teams train for every day.
The women’s team also faced struggles but worked well as a team to get five wins between the two days. The team handily beat NYU, Vassar, Brandeis, MIT and Yale.
But the Tar Heels were bested by Pennsylvania, Sacred Heart, Harvard, Boston College, Cornell and Brown in the two days of competition.
“I thought we worked really well together,” Albert said. “We competed individually, but at the same time, we worked well enough together that we essentially competed as one unit.
“Our first day was a lot harder than our second. And we didn’t have the best first day, but we were still able to get on the bus and go turn it around on the second day and work well overall as a team.”
Blake realized it was only the first weekend of the season, and he said the Tar Heels now know what they have to improve as the season progresses.
“For the future, I think we need to bond a little bit more as a team,” he said. “And that will come with time.”
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