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UNC men's and women's fencing teams both go 3-2 at Elite Invitational

UNC Duke Fencing
Connor Costa against Duke University on Saturday February 9, 2019 at Duke University's Card Gym.

The North Carolina fencing team competed this past weekend in the first team dual meets of the year, the Elite Invitational in Philadelphia, Penn. with both the men’s and women’s teams finishing with a 2-3 record.

What happened?

Each of the teams were able to pick up solid wins, with the women’s team beating the host, Penn, by a score of 14-13, and the men’s team outlasting Ohio State 14-13.

The other victories came against the women’s Air Force squad and the Johns Hopkins men’s team. The women's team handily beat out Air Force 17-10, and the men’s team took down Johns Hopkins 18-9.

In the team's first team tournament this year, UNC’s head coach Matt Jednak was happy with how the Tar Heels performed.

“We’d had individual tournaments, but this is the first time we got to work as a unit, and I thought it was great showing for our team," Jednak said. "With me being a first-year head coach and quite a number of our players being first years, it was really interesting to see them come together and work hard.”

He also was proud of how they held each other accountable and helped build each other up.

“I thought they were very supportive to each other while they were competing and they had great critique for their team which was awesome to see,” he said. “And when they got on the strip, they were able to execute and zone in and put themselves out there against some high-level competition.”

Who stood out?

On the men’s side, some notable performance came from sophomore Beni Rabinowitz, who went 10-2 in men’s sabre, which included an impressive showing with 3-0 marks against both the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Johns Hopkins University. First-year Connor Head also performed well, posting a 7-3 record in men’s foil and going 3-0 against Ohio State.

On the women's squad, first-year Sophia Mandour went 9-1 on the day in foil, including 2-0 against Penn, Temple and Johns Hopkins. Sophomore Rebecca Barnes posted a record of 5-4 in epee including 3-0 against Johns Hopkins, and first-year Darby Haskel also went 5-4 in epee, similarly going 3-0 against JHU. 

Why does it matter?

This tournament was important because it allowed the coaches and players to come together and see how they perform together against good competition.

Not only this, but Jednak was able to see results of his coaching techniques which stress togetherness and a family culture. Unlike other team sports, instilling this mindset in players can be tough since the NCAA fencing tournament is an individual competition, and qualifying for that is the ultimate goal for the players.

“We want to keep the team environment and team culture of being Carolina fencing and supporting each other from a team aspect,” Jednak said. 

When do they play next?

The fencing team will be back in action next weekend at the Penn State Open, which is an individual tournament.


@DTHSports |

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