January 19, 2007

Fencers Head to Third Tourney

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The fencing team will draw its weapons at the Philadelphia Invitational tomorrow, seeking its third perfect tournament performance of the 2006-07 season.

While most Cornellians were studying for finals in early December, the Red successfully jabbed back against the host team at the Brandeis Invitational on Dec. 3, as well as Boston College, MIT and Vassar to post a 4-0 overall record at the tournament. The Red had gone 3-0 two weeks earlier in the first ever Cornell Invitational.

All three of the team’s squads — epee, foil, and sabre — participated and the squads relinquished only two decisions.

Dolgikh, who is a former world champion foilist, may have finally turned around a fencing team which had not earned an Ivy League win in the 14 years before her arrival in 2005.

“This is my fourth year on the team and we have never won all four matches before,” said senior caption Elise Pasoreck. “This shows we are capable of doing a lot more than we thought.”

Pasoreck and sabre squad teammates sophomore Alex Heiss and freshman Alison Ewing fought for Cornell at Brandeis. The absence of Cornell’s star sabreist, senior captain Ivana Zgaljic, did not deter the trio from clinching 30-of-36 bouts and going 4-0 in overall decisions.

The epee squad was also undefeated in its Brandeis decisions. The foil squad faltered twice, losing in 6-3 decisions against Boston College and Vassar. Those were the only two decisions that went against Cornell.

“Even though the numbers don’t show it, [the foil squad] is working really hard and improving really fast,” Pasoreck said. “The schools that we faced in Boston had really strong foil squads.”

A last round bye requested because of the long travel time between Ithaca and Boston kept the Red from facing tournament leader St. John’s. St. John’s went 5-0 including wins over Ivy teams Yale and Brown.

After the Brandeis Invitational, formal training over winter break was limited to a three-day training camp that concluded yesterday.

“It gave us all a really good opportunity to brush up on some skills that may have dated over break,” Pasoreck said.

With its sharpness restored the fencing squad will head to Philadelphia this weekend where a Haverford-based invitational will pit the Red against some of the strongest fencing programs including Duke, UNC, and national powerhouse Northwestern.

“We will be fencing at least six schools and we will try to fit in a seventh too,” Pasoreck said. “Competition from hereon in is going to be really strong,” said Pasoreck. “This weekend is going to be a good gauge for the rest of the season.”