November 25, 2003

Fencers Trade Blows With Sacred Heart, Harvard

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By early Sunday afternoon, the scores of Cornell’s fencing matches were an identical 18-9. Only one of them, though, had Cornell on the winning end.

The fencing team posted several strong performances en route to a 18-9 win over Sacred Heart, but earlier fell to Harvard by the same score. Head coach Albert Peters, though disappointed with the loss, was pleased with his team’s showing — especially against Harvard.

“Harvard gets stronger every year,” he said. “I have great respect for their program, but I sure don’t like to lose.

“I hate to be premature, but we’ve got some good talent, no question about that,” Peters added.

Among that talent was All-American Meghan Phair. After earning a championship title at the Temple Invitational earlier this season, Phair returned to action with a 5-0 weekend run in the epee event. Still, she was not the only strong performer on the day.

Senior captain Erica Wilhelm went 2-1 against Harvard and a perfect 3-0 against Sacred Heart. Freshman Alexa Rose also had three wins against Sacred Heart, giving Cornell a sweep in the epee event.

“Alexa is a very talented freshman,” said Peters. “She was little nervous against Harvard, but she got back on track and showed quite clearly what she can do.”

Peters also lauded Wilhelm for her solid efforts.

“She had a good year last year, but she is off to a tremendous start this season.”

Cornell also posted strong efforts in the sabre competition, winning seven matches from Sacred Heart, and stealing four from Harvard. Freshman Ivana Zgaljic dropped her first set of matches to Harvard, 2-5, but then had an incredible turn around as she allowed only two more touches against Sacred Heart.

“That’s a very impressive performance for anybody, but particularly for a freshman, so we were very happy to see that,” said Peters.

The foil squad appeared flat against Harvard, dropping all of its matches to the Crimson. Against Sacred Heart the squad began to rebound, however, winning its last two matches.

“Harvard is overwhelming in the foil competition, not just for us, but for everybody,” Peters said. “We started to get our confidence back at the end of the day and that’s a very great sign for me.”

Peters discussed the performance with his foil fencers later that day.

“We sat down and we talked a little bit after the day’s competition,” he said. “Our last round against Sacred Heart, we got two victories against a very tough team.”

The team’s next bout will be at Yale on Dec. 6. While Yale is perennially the toughest Ivy squad, Peters has his hopes.

“Our team is very strong, the strongest we’ve had in 15 years,” he said. “We’re looking to go down and give them a shock.”

Archived article by Matt Janiga

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