Coming off a well-deserved winter vacation, the women’s fencing team will look to put together a successful return to action this weekend at the Philadelphia Invitational Multi-Meet, hosted by No. 9 Penn. The two-day event, which will be held tomorrow and Sunday at the Hutchinson Gym in Philadelphia, will feature teams from nine other schools, including Duke, North Carolina, Rutgers, Temple and No. 7 Northwestern.
“Northwestern has a good team, and Temple is a good fencing school. We have a young team, with lots of energy. We are excited to compete,” said first-year head coach Iryna Dolgikh.
The Red has been training as a team this week, and after individual training with its hometown clubs and teams during the break, the team feels that it will be able to come out firing.
“We are having an intense one-week training camp,” said senior Lindsay Reul. “We should be able to get out there and compete right away.”
Assistant coach Olena Gutor feels that the Red is looking sharp, and is hopeful about its chances heading into the team’s first regular-season meet.
“The practices have been very good. They have been showing a lot of energy. They have been fencing much better. Most of them have finally come out of their shell,” Gutor said.
The last competition the Red faced was at the NIWFS Christmas Invitational in Teaneck, NJ, back on Dec. 4. Junior Meghan Phair, the team captain, led the charge for the Red, capturing its only medal of the tournament with a fifth-place finish in the foil competition. The tournament, which was for fencers C-rated or lower, excluded Phair, a two-time All-American epeeist, from competing in epee, where she is A-rated.
Reul scored Cornell’s top finish in epee, placing 22nd in a field of 38, while freshman Jessica Leval turned in a solid performance to lead the way in saber, finishing in 19th place.
The Red can count on a significant boost from junior Ivana Zgaljic in saber, who is rejoining the team after a semester abroad. She was the lone Cornellian to advance to the NCAA championships last year.
“We welcome back two sabers from semesters abroad, which should help. Especially Ivana, she is very good and should provide us with help,” Gutor said.
Unlike the other competitions thus far this season, the Philadelphia Invitational is a team event. After two individual tournaments, the Red is excited to start its regular season schedule.
“The team competition should be fun and exciting. I think we have a very good team and a good chance to play very well. We have some good freshmen and we think that we haven’t reached our full potential yet,” Reul said.
Archived article by Jeremy Drucker
Sun Staff Writer