January 27, 2009

Fencing Outduels Top Teams at Princeton

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The fencing team kicked off the spring semester on a high note, winning four of its five matches this Sunday at the Princeton Duels. The team beat Drew, North Carolina, Haverford and Duke, before losing to Temple at the end of the day.
Head coach Iryna Dolgikh attributed the team’s success to its “excellent organization, improving spirit and experience from last year. We competed against word-level fencers last year, so now we started the year stronger and more confident. We won many matches at Princeton 5-4. Even if the other team was stronger, my team fought.”
She added that the team has benefited from the return of two epeeists, seniors Sallie Dietrich and Tasha Hall, who were both abroad last semester. The epee squad as a whole was undefeated at Princeton.
Hall, an epee co-captain who did not get the chance to fence while in Rome, said that despite fencing at individual tournaments over winter break, “It’s hard to come back to collegiate fencing. It took a while for me to get into it, but I fenced well and I beat two girls from Temple who I’d never beaten before.”
The undefeated foil squad continued its winning streak at Princeton.
Of the squad’s success, sophomore foil co-captain Jessica Tranquada said, “Each year, the [squad] has been getting better, and with the addition of freshman Rebeca Hirschfeld, we’ve just gotten so much stronger, and we feel like more of a team — we’re a lot closer. She’s very experienced which really helps out because she’s fenced many of the players we’re facing before.”
Assistant coach Rachel Covault noted that it was easier for the women to start the season thanks to twice daily practices the week before classes started. She said the bout practice, conditioning and footwork drills, coupled with individual practice that many fencers were able to get at home, helped the team “get back into the swing of things and get back into gear.”
Looking toward the future, sophomore foil co-captain Analise Pellegi said, “Winning at Princeton was really nice and I hope it continues throughout the season.”