February 8, 2005

Fencing Fights Full Slate

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A tough schedule was the Red’s most difficult opponent this weekend, as the fencing team faced eight teams over two days. The Red proved it was equal to the challenge, going 5-3 over the weekend.

The Red was thrown right into the Tigers’ lair on Saturday morning, as it took to the strip against Ivy League foe Princeton to begin competition. Princeton dominated sabre and foil to roll to an 18-9 victory. However, the Red was able to take the epee category on the strength of two victories from each of its fencers. This includedthe individual performances junior co-captain and two-time All-American Meghan Phair and freshman Erica Waichman, who returned to action for the first time since being sidelined with illness at Thanksgiving.

“Princeton has one of the strongest foil fencers in the country,” Phair said. “Strong fencers attract more strong fencers, which helps the program.”

But Cornell wasn’t distracted by defeat, and bounced back to claim three victories over the course of the day.

Last year, the Red beat James Madison by a final score of 26-1. Although the Red faced more resistance this year, it still posted a comfortable 17-10 victory. Haverford and Fairleigh Dickinson proved no match for the Red as well, as Cornell won by scores of 19-8 and 18-9, respectively.

“It feels great for everyone on the team to have a bunch of wins under their belt,” Phair said.

The Red needed every bit of confidence the next day, as the team travelled to Cambridge, Mass., for a grueling day of matches against Boston College, Brown, MIT, and Brandeis.

“It was hard for everyone to have had such a long day and then such a long trip,” Phair said of the back-to-back meets. “I think the girls did as well as they could.”

The first match of the day set the tone, with the Red using a collective team performance to squeak past Boston College, 14-13.

“We were just coming off a high from the day before,” Phair said. “Everyone was really cofident.”

The Red was able to carry that feeling through to the match, against Ivy rival Brown. Although the Bears’ program is not competing within the league for the title this year, the Red pulled out a 19-8 victory by winning every weapon category. This was an improvement over last year’s performance, when the Red beat Brown by a 17-10 margin.

“It’s nice to know we can still beat one of the tougher schools,” Phair said.

That match-up proved to be a brief respite from a day filled with close calls. The Red found itself battling for every touch against MIT in its next match. The full schedule began to take its toll the Red, as the Engineers won a close contest by a 15-12 margin.

“A lot of us were just really tired,” Phair said. “A long day with lots of ups and downs takes its toll.”

The final match of the day, against Brandeis, was another nail-biter for the Red. Once again, it came out on the losing end of a tightly-fought contest, falling by a final score of 14-13. Next weekend, the Red will again have its hands full as it faces Penn, Penn State, Temple and Columbia all in one day.

Archived article by Olivia Dwyer
Sun Staff Writer