The North Carolina fencing team finished 9-1 overall on Saturday at the Philadelphia Invitational, with the men's team going 4-1 and the women finishing a perfect 5-0. This competition is the second of the new year and was a major improvement for the Tar Heels after finishing 3-7 at the Penn State Dual Meets.
The UNC fencing teams began the day facing Sacred Heart, and both the men and women finished on top with scores of 19-8 and 22-5, respectively. The women's team went on to face Fairleigh Dickinson in its closest match of the day, a 17-10 win for the Tar Heels.
The women finished the day with dominate victories over the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Lafayette and Wagner, 20-7, 20-7 and 21-6, respectively. The women's foil fencers led the way, finishing their last two matches with perfect 9-0 scores in that event.
The men also had a successful outing, with their only loss coming in the fourth round against the New Jersey Institute of Technology. The Tar Heels were narrowly defeated, 12-15, in UNC's only loss of the competition.
The men's team was successful the rest of the day, defeating NYU in a close match that ended 14-13 and dominating Lafayette, 24-3. The foil and epee fencers led the way in that match, both going a perfect 9-0 against Lafayette. The men's team defeated John Hopkins, 19-8, to end the day.
"It's not always about the results because there's this process that we're going through," head coach Matt Jednak said. "But to see them validating for themselves what they've put into it, it was great, it was really amazing."
Who stood out?
The men's team was led by standout performances from junior epeeist Joe Taylor and junior Firoz George, who competed in sabre. Taylor and Firoz finished the day 8-1 and 9-3, respectively.
Sophomore Charlotte Summers, first-year Darby Haskel and senior Wei Chee Chen also had noteworthy performances on the women's side. Summers and Haskel had dominate days finishing 8-2 and 7-3, respectively, while Chen finished the day undefeated with a perfect 6-0 record in foil.
Why does it matter?
The men's and women's teams both began the day strong and followed through to end with winning records. These results give the Tar Heels a boost as they head towards the final matches of their season and postseason play.
When do they play next?
The team traveled light to this meet with some players out due to the flu and other injuries. Jednak said he looks forward to the much-needed break his team will have next weekend as he works to get his team back to full health.
"They really are road warriors," Jednak said. "We travel up north quite a bit and they go out there and still produce at high levels."
The Tar Heels will travel to the Northwestern Dual Meets in Evanston, Ill., for a two-day competition on Saturday, Feb. 1 and Sunday, Feb. 2.
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