The North Carolina fencing team had a solid outing at the Brandeis Invitational led by the strong play of the men’s team.
The men’s team went undefeated in six matches. The team started off with wins over Cornell, Brown, the University of the Incarnate Word and MIT. They were fueled by big performances in the sabre.
The final two matches were a different story. Despite quality wins over Yale and Brandeis, the Tar Heels lost the sabre against both schools. It was the epee that stepped up to help the Tar Heels finish the competition 6-0.
The women’s team also had a strong showing. They had a very rough start, losing to Cornell 17-10, which was a team they beat handily in previous competitions. Head Coach Ron Miller shard his thoughts on the women’s performance in the opening match.
“Just a situation where they were not in the ballgame,” Miller said. "They were not great.”
The women then went on to win three straight matches behind their play in the sabre and foil. Then the Tar Heels ran into another roadblock against Yale, losing a 14-13 heartbreaker. However, in the final matchup, the women finished on a high note.
Who stood out?
Junior Jacob Henkels led the way for the men’s epee, coming in clutch towards the end when they needed it most.
There was no one who stood out as significantly in the other swords. Each fencer provided key contributions to help them pile on victories.
The women’s team had a very strong outing in the epee. Junior Jackie Litynski, first-year Bridget Becchina and sophomore Clara Somfelean led the way with impressive showings. Junior Carlexa Fevry and first-year Aubrey Molloy also had great days in the foil.
When was it decided?
The UNC men picked up big wins over Yale, Brown and MIT. Those victories set the tone for what was a very convincing performance. Both of these teams had a lot of talent and the Tar Heels outclassed both to cap off an undefeated night.
While the women finished with a lot of positives, their two loses left a really left a bad taste in their mouths. The Yale loss was a tight one against a talented team. However, the Cornell loss was a domination from a team that the Lady Tar Heels have beaten before. That match proved to be a major outlier from the rest.
Why does it matter?
After playing against highly ranked teams for the past few weeks, the Tar Heels wanted to take advantage of a much weaker field. Both teams were able to accomplish this. This was especially true for the men’s team. They showed their strength, beating teams by no less than three points.
The takeaways were not all positive. One of the largest concerns for both the men and women over the course of the season is consistency. They have had good performances from each sword, just not at the same times. This continued on Sunday. The Tar Heels did not have one sword squad that consistently played to their full potential.
Despite these issues, Miller was proud that the other sword squads were able to step up and perform well when another did not.
“Even though we had some inconsistencies, I think that they are learning very quickly how to perform as a team," Miller said, "meaning that even if one squad is down, the other squads pick up and they are learning to support each other a little better, as well”
When do they play next?
The Tar Heels concluded their fall fencing schedule and will receive a much needed break. Their next collegiate competition isn’t until Jan. 13, when they head back to Penn State for the Penn State Dual Meet at 8 am.
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