The North Carolina fencing team competed this weekend at the Duke Duals in Durham, the men's team on Saturday and the women's team on Sunday where both finished 2-2.
The men's team competed on Saturday, and starting against the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where UNC won 17-10. North Carolina won both the foil and epee round 6-3. In the sabre round UNC held on to win 5-4 against MIT and win the overall matchup.
In the next matchup against Brandeis, North Carolina did not win as decisively, taking the match 15-12. North Carolina won the foil round 6-3, but they dropped the epee 6-3. In the sabre round North Carolina pulled through with a 6-3 victory to claim the overall match victory.
When the Tar Heels faced John Hopkins in the third round on Saturday, they had a victory in the foil round 5-4. But the epee round saw North Carolina lose 6-3, and put UNC in an overall 10-8 deficit. North Carolina won the sabre round 5-4 but were unable to surpass John Hopkins in points losing the matchup 14-13.
North Carolina concluded Saturday afternoon with a tough matchup against No. 4 Penn State. In the foil round North Carolina took a 6-3 loss. Then in the epee UNC didn’t gain any momentum as its lost 7-2, and the margin ballooned to 13-5 in Penn State’s favor. North Carolina lost the sabre round 6-3, falling overall 19-8 to conclude the day for men’s competition.
On Sunday the women's team faced off against the same four schools. UNC defeated MIT 17-10 as it won the foil and sabre 6-3, and then the epee 5-4. But against Penn State, the Tar Heels suffered a 20-7 defeat as they lost the foil 8-1, the epee 5-4 and fell in the sabre 7-2. Against Brandeis, North Carolina claimed its second victory as the team won the foil, epee and sabre, all 5-4 to win 15-12. For the final matchup Sunday, North Carolina lost to Temple 16-11. Despite a 7-2 victory in the foil, UNC lost the epee 9-0 and the sabre 5-4.
Who stood out?
Head Coach Matt Jendak highlighted both teams and couldn’t pinpoint one individual athlete on their performance. He did commend both teams for hard fought performances, specifically the women’s team against No. 5 Temple.
When was it decided?
In day one of the competition, the men narrowly won against Brandeis in the final round as both teams were tied heading into the sabre round. When faced against John Hopkins on Saturday, the final round decided the overall outcome, a 14-13 defeat. For the women their closest match was against Brandeis where they won each round by a narrow 5-4 margin.
Why does it matter?
Jendak emphasized staying focused as a key for the matchups between stout, nationally ranked competition where he believed the team performed as well as their competitors.
“We’re at that same level if we’re focused and ready to move,” Jendak said. “We just needed to make sure we were in every bout and every meet, not only physically but mentally, and I think they did that.”
Also, with the time spent training and competing, the head coach believed this put his team in a better place to face the tough competition.
“At the same time, we were able to push ourselves for team victories as well,” Jendak said. “So, I was really really happy to see improvements versus teams that we may not have performed as well as we could have early in the season.”
When do they play next?
The team’s next meet is the two-day ACC Championship in South Bend, Indiana. Competition starts Saturday, Feb.22, and concludes the following day.
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