It’s been nearly two months since the Red faced any competition, but the fencing team is ready and waiting for the tough opponents it will face on Saturday.
“We’ve been practicing really hard this past week and everyone is really excited and ready,” said junior captain Meghan Phair.
The Red is expecting a challenge this weekend as it faces off against No. 4 Harvard, Vassar, Tufts, and Wellesley on Saturday. The Crimson will be a formidable foe, taking the Red by a 18-9 margin a year ago. Tufts and Wellesley pose the threat of the unknown, as the current squads have never met.
Despite the long break and the daunting task of facing four teams in one day, the team is confident heading into the weekend.
“In dual meets, you don’t have time to warm up and get in your groove,” Phair said. “Now with 12 bouts per person people have a chance to warm up and get rid of jitters.”
The Red will need to be calm and on top of its game against Harvard, who boasts the top-ranked junior fencer in the U.S. Freshman Emily Cross leads the Crimson in the foil category and has come on strong in her first collegiate campaign. She has already notched a victory over defending NCAA national champion Alycia Kryczalo of Notre Dame and has dropped only one bout in dual-meet competition. The Crimson is undefeated, having routed Tufts, Columbia, and Brandeis.
“[Harvard] should be a harder meet, but we’re just looking to do better than last year,” Phair said.
The Red can expect some relief when it faces off against Vassar (2-2). Last year, Cornell won by a 20-7 margin.
“We’re expecting the same results if not better,” said Phair of the face-off.
Tufts brings a strong squad to the strip on Saturday, returning five of six NCAA Regional qualifiers from last year’s campaign. Wellesley is an untried opponent, only facing its first competition yesterday against Brandeis.”
Phair and the rest of the team are eager for all takers. With nearly two months to rest and practice, the team is ready to put its hard work to the test.
“Winter practice has really helped the team come together,” Phair said. “Everyone is really anxious to really get in and start fencing.”
Phair, a two-time All-America selection, will lead the Red’s epee squad. Also competing in epee are sophomore Alexa Rose, who was 2-1 against Yale earlier this season, and freshman Erica Waichmen. The saber squad, led by sophomore captain Elise Pasoreck, will be looking for a comeback after falling to Yale by a narrow 5-4 margin. Senior Valerie DeRose will lead a young foil squad, joined by sophomores Shannon Flatley and Beth Rubin. Although the team is made up predominantly of underclassmen, all its members have a great deal of experience from last year and high school competition.
“It’s good for us to have girls who’ve done competition before – it kills the butterflies,” Phair said.
Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer