Northwestern fencing did not receive the results it was hoping for last Sunday at the Philadelphia Invitational.
NU lost to Penn 14-13, Columbia 19-8, Temple 17-10 and succumbed to Princeton and Yale 16-11. While the Wildcats suffered narrow team losses, there were several notable individual performances. The epee team defeated Princeton 5-4, faced Columbia in a 5-4 loss, and defeated Penn 6-3. Senior Julia Falinska went 7-3 that day, and rookie Asha Henry went 2-1.
Other notable accomplishments include graduate student Sarah Filby with a 7-4 record, junior foil Julia Shalansky who swept a strong Yale foil team 3-0, and junior saber Thea Nguyen with a 5 record. -3, including a 3-0 shutout from Temple.
Coach Zach Moss praised his team’s ability to finish games with intensity and effort despite a slow start.
“Although (our efforts) ultimately did not result in the victories we were looking for, the ability to stick to the process and improve throughout the day will pay off in future competitions as time goes on. season,” Moss said.
At the same time, the players shared a similar enthusiastic attitude about last weekend’s competition. Saber sophomore Levi Hoogendoorn said he noticed several positive aspects of his team’s performance.
“The general consensus was that the tournament went well,” Hoogendoorn said. “Everyone had good fights and good touches, and we gave each other energy, support and a lot of encouragement throughout the day. We will certainly adopt the approach of this (past) weekend in future tournaments.
Although the Wildcats struggled to pick up wins, Moss acknowledged the immense level of competition the team faced in Philadelphia. Also, he said, the Cats haven’t drawn many high-quality fencers in a while.
“It was the strongest group of opponents we’ve had in a single day of competition in two years due to the pandemic, and I think that surprised us a bit,” Moss said. “While we have very experienced fencers on this team, we also have a lot of fencers who have never experienced the grind of a full season and that type of environment.”
Nonetheless, Moss said he understands the adjustments that need to be made for upcoming competitions, but at the same time he feels teams need to stay sharp throughout the week.
“The main change we need to make is to be more consistent from the start of the day and find the best way to get into a rhythm earlier,” Moss said. “As we approach this weekend’s event, we can change a few aspects of our training and emphasize a few different elements.”
The team shared similar thoughts on personal adjustments to make for more successful results.
Reflecting on her performance last weekend, junior foil Anna Biasco said she hoped to make timely changes to her approach.
“Personally, strong fencing from the start of the day is something I really work on,” Biasco said. “I’m also working on being able to reset between rounds, especially given how much we’re going to have this coming weekend.”
This weekend, NU travels to South Bend, Indiana to compete in the DeCicco Duals. The team will face nine teams in the conference, including No. 1 Notre Dame.
Moss said his team’s goal for this weekend, especially against the nation’s top program, is to overcome past results.
“The last time we closed (Notre Dame) we were down 15-12, losing every gun 5-4. We hope we can improve on that result this weekend,” said Moss. “Our goal is to win all of our competitions at this event. Notre Dame is certainly the biggest challenge this weekend, but all of these teams are well trained with good athletes.
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