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North Carolina fencing finishes 14-3 at the two-day Philadelphia Invitational

The women's team went 8-1, and the men's team went 6-2.

The North Carolina women’s fencing team finished 8-1, and the men finished 6-2 at the Philadelphia Invitational. The Tar Heels' teams combined for a record of 14-3 in the two-day, 20-team tournament hosted by the University of Pennsylvania.

What happened?

The UNC men’s team started the tournament 4-1, with its only loss coming in its first match to NYU, 17-10. The Tar Heels bounced back from the early loss, beating out Sacred Heart (17-10), NJIT (15-12), Haverford (16-11) and Johns Hopkins (15-12).

The UNC women dominated its first day, going 6-0 on the day with an undefeated epee team. The Tar Heels bested Cornell (17-10), Sacred Heart (18-9), NJIT (15-12), Drew (20-7), Johns Hopkins (16-11) and FDU (19-8).

Both teams went 2-1 on the second day, with each of the losses coming from close matches against Yale teams.

“The most disappointing losses were the ones to Yale,” head coach Ron Miller said. “The men, in particular, had beaten them earlier in the year. And we were just a little less consistent in two of the weapons, versus the first time we fenced them.”

The men’s two wins on the second day were against Brown (17-10) and Drew (20-7). On their second day, the Tar Heel women beat out Brown (18-9) and Wagner (20-7).

Who stood out?

In terms of weapons, both the women’s epee excelled throughout the tournament. The team went 6-0 the first day and 2-1 the second, showing a strong correlation between their performance and the entire team’s.

“We don’t really have a specific starting team, but they all did great,” Miller said. “Women’s epee was the most consistent weapon across the board.”

Men’s saber was another team that stayed consistent throughout the tournament, going 6-2 over the two-day span, and with all starters finishing with winning records.

As for individual fencers, sophomore saber Jackie Litynski stood out to Miller, with her 17-1 performance on the second day leading a strong women’s saber team.

Why does it matter?

This tournament gave the Tar Heels a good taste of the competition they are going to face later in the season. These matches gave the teams a good indicator where they stand among other teams in their region — and they also gave Miller confidence heading into the rest of the season.

“We showed that we pretty much can dominate anyone but the top couple of teams,” he said. “And that’s always nice.”

The Tar Heels have also had trouble with 5-4 bouts throughout the season, close bouts that are physically and mentally taxing for the fencers — UNC finished its last tournament with 66 5-4 bouts and 46 5-4 losses.

This tournament allowed the Tar Heels to work on this problem, finishing the tournament with a winning record on 5-4 bouts.

Both teams are also on the fringe of being ranked in CollegeFencing360.com's coaches' poll, which ranks the top 10 schools in men's and women's fencing.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will head to Notre Dame, Ind., for the Northwestern Dual Meets, which take place from Feb. 3 to Feb. 4.

@_jakeschmitz

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@DTHSports | sports@dailytarheel.com