The women finished 2-4 on the day, including a narrow 15-12 loss to No. 8 Penn State, while the men finished 1-4.
“The best performance on the day by any fencer, male or female, was by Sydney Persing,” Coach Ron Miller said.
The first-year Persing was the rock for the Tar Heels, finishing 11-6 in the women’s foil. She has had strong performances so far this season, and this was no exception.
Persing pulled out two of her three wins against Penn State by scores of 5-4, establishing herself as a clutch performer on a day where multiple bouts were decided by one touch.
She also helped the women’s team in its two victories, one a tough, 14-13 match against Yale, and the other a dominating 22-5 win over Haverford.
The men’s team could not find the same level of consistency as the women Tar Heels, though. The men finished 1-4, with the only victory coming in a 20-7 win over Haverford. A sizable portion of the men’s bouts were decided by one stroke, which could have swung some matches the other way.
As the day progressed, the men did manage to improve on the close bouts, finishing strong on a frustrating day.
In the team’s first dual meet since Nov. 21, it faced a competitive field that included Columbia, the reigning national champion.
Also, the men received a boost in their lineup after the return of senior Harry Adams. The Tar Heel foil was studying abroad in Ireland this past semester and was not available all fall.
“This is one of the better teams we’ve had in recent years in terms of talent. But the teams we have fenced so far have more experienced ... so we just have to play a little catch-up game.” — Miller on his team’s performance.
The field of teams in this event was particularly strong. Four of the six schools the women’s team competed against were in the top 10 in the country. As for the men, three of the five competing teams were ranked in the top 10.
Three numbers that matter
16: Votes the UNC men’s team received to be in the latest top-10 poll. The women received 11.
30: The number of fencers brought to the meet, one of the first times the Tar Heels have had their full complement of fencers this season.
31: Number of 5-4 bouts the men’s team competed in, meaning they were decided by one strike.
The Tar Heels will face more strong competition on Saturday, as they travel back to Pennsylvania for the Penn Dual Meets.