November 21, 2008

Red Favored in Season-Opening Tournament

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This Sunday, the fencing team will host its only home tournament of the season when Stevens Institute of Technology and Yeshiva University travel to Ithaca for the Cornell Fencing Invitational.
“We have a good relationship with these schools,” said head coach Iryna Dolgikh. “And I’m very sure my girls will show good results.”
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Cornell beat both schools last year, as well as Johns Hopkins, which will not be returning this year. In all three matchups, Cornell’s score was 63-18.
The tournament is significant in that it is the first team-based tournament of the semester.
“This is a good chance for the newer girls to get some dual-meet competition,” said junior Alison Ewing, co-captain of the saber squad.
The Red will be competing as a team for the first time this season, count towards their NCAA record. This record will determine who will be qualified to enter the NCAA tournament at the end of the season.
To prepare, assistant coach Rachel Covault said that the team has been practicing for the five touch bouts that make up team competitions — as compared to individual tournaments, which consist of both five and 15 touch bouts.
The women are also excited for the opportunity to fence at home.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Covault said. “It’s a more friendly tournament because it’s small, and there’s always alumni, parents and friends who come in to cheer us on.”
Sophomore Jessica Tranquada, co-captain of the foil squad, agreed.
“It’s great because our friends come watch, and we get to show people what fencing is, because it’s not a well-known sport.”
An added benefit, she said, is the location.
“It will be nice not to have to travel,” she said.
Dolgikh said that holding the tournament at Cornell prepares the team “to be nice hosts.”
She continued, however, by saying, “Our team is very nice and polite, but on the strip they are tigers.”