The North Carolina fencing teams faced a field of tough competition this weekend in Card Gym at Duke.
The men’s team, which competed on Saturday, was plagued by the same obstacle it has been fighting all season — inconsistency.
The Tar Heel men finished with a record of 1-4, with their only win coming in the second meet against Brandeis, 15-12. They opened the day with a close 14-13 loss to Johns Hopkins. They lost their final three meets against Duke, Penn State and Notre Dame by scores of 18-9, 21-6 and 25-2.
“It’s a young team. They haven’t really fenced well together this year,” Coach Ron Miller said. “A lot of ups and downs, a lot of inconsistencies. That continued some today.”
The men’s team was led by first-year sabreist Connor Ritchey, who finished 7-4 — including two victories over archrival Duke.
“I’m really proud of the way I fenced against Duke, coming in and being able to establish myself in that rivalry by winning both bouts,” Ritchey said.
Miller was not happy with his team's focus throughout the day. With the score close late in the opening meet, he asked the team how many wins they needed and only three players responded. He knows the team’s focus will have to improve for the team to get better going forward.
The competition on Sunday started off with a technical difficulty that resulted in junior sabreist Sarah Hanvy having to sing the national anthem acapella.
She was able to carry her enthusiasm from singing the anthem to a 2-1 record in the opening meet against Temple. The rest of the team was unable to match her success, though, as it dropped the opening contest 19-8.
The women’s team followed suit with the men, picking up a win in the second meet against Brandeis, 17-10. The women were able to keep it closer against Duke than the men's team, but they lost a close meet, 15-12.
Following a break for lunch, the women's team fell to Penn State 19-8. In the final meet of the weekend, UNC lost to Notre Dame 24-3 — faring just one point better than the men's team did against the Fighting Irish.
“He’s not an actual captain, but in terms of team spirit and in terms of team energy, he sets a tone we’d love to have across all of our weapons.” — Miller on the mentality junior Ezra Baeli-Wang brings to the team.
During a men’s foil bout against Notre Dame, Baeli-Wang scored a point off a leaping touch on sophomore Virgile Collineau — who is the defending ACC foil champion. He followed his point with a dab that electrified both his teams and fellow competitors.
Three numbers that matter
5: The total number of points won by the men’s foil team in its four loses.
7: Number of consecutive losses by Matthew Garrelick and Ritchey, who started the day 14-1 combined.
1: The combined number of points the men's and women's sabre teams were able to win against Notre Dame.
The UNC fencing teams will compete at the Philadelphia Invitational in Philadelphia on Feb. 21.
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