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Saturday May 28th

UNC fencing impresses in snow-shortened Philadelphia Invitational

Amanda Lalezarian (UNC) preparing to lunge during a match. The UNC Women's Team placed 3rd at the ACC Fencing Tournament on Sunday, February 26, 2017.`
Buy Photos Amanda Lalezarian (UNC) preparing to lunge during a match. The UNC Women's Team placed 3rd at the ACC Fencing Tournament on Sunday, February 26, 2017.`

The North Carolina fencing team had a strong showing in the snow-shortened Philadelphia Invitational on Saturday, as both the men’s and women’s teams swept their opponents 4-0 en route to a dominant showing.

What happened?

The No. 12 men’s team (13-8) and the No. 16 women’s team (12-9) traveled to Pennsylvania this weekend, hoping for two full days of fencing against nine opponents. Unfortunately, adverse weather in Philadelphia forced roads to shut down, resulting in only four of nine opponents showing up: New York University, Sacred Heart, Haverford and Brown. 

“We had to check out of the hotel," head coach Ron Miller said, "fence as many schools as we could, then get on the road and come home.”

Regardless, the team was able to handle the opponents that did show up — and get some valuable experience along the way.

First, the Tar Heels faced Sacred Heart. Both men’s and women’s teams won handily in saber, foil and epee. In all of the three categories, opponents never earned more than eight points. 

In the next match of the day against NYU, the competition for the women’s team was similar to the first duel, as they dominated in a 21-6 rout. 

The competition for the men was tougher, but they managed to edge out a 14-13 win. This is the second year in a row that the Tar Heels have beaten the Bobcats. 

In the third round, North Carolina played Haverford, one of the best Division 3 schools in the country, and once again impressed, with the women’s team delivering a 22-5 victory and the men following up with an 18-9 win. 

The Tar Heels completed their impressive day by blowing out Brown in the last round, with both men and women winning by a 21-6 margin. 

When was it decided?

The tournament was decided pretty early. 

North Carolina was clearly the most talented squad, and they showcased why both the men and women are ranked inside the top 16 nationally. Aside from the men’s NYU match, no round was determined by less than nine points. 

Why does it matter?

The tournament served as valuable rest for the starters, and precious experience for reserves who don’t often get in the spotlight.

Collectively, the women’s team stood out, managing an undefeated record on the day with the closest score being 5-4. 

Thanks to the strong team effort, it's difficult to highlight one player who stood out. Miller mentioned how the level of competition allowed for reserves to gain some valuable experience. 

The lopsided defeats were a testament to the depth of both Tar Heel teams, and serve as an encouraging sign for tougher matchups down the road. Though they only got to play four other teams, and competition was scarce, the event was another indicator of the team's abilities moving forward.

When do they play next?

The Tar Heels will be back in action Feb. 3 in Chicago at the Northwestern Duels.

@andrewmontross

sports@dailytarheel.com

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