This past weekend Northwestern Fencing headed over to South Bend, Indiana for the DeCiccio Duals, our last dual meet of the season.
The morning began with a tough match against Ohio State. A strong finish came from the epée squad, consisting of Juliana Barrett, Mandeep Bhinder, Christina Allen, and Kaitlyn Wallace, who won five of their nine overall bouts. Even with the absence of senior Dina Bazarbayeva and junior Courtney Dumas, who were abroad for the weekend and competing in a World Cup, the underclassmen successfully stepped up. By the end of the match, we realized that many of our losses were by just one touch, revealing that this is a strategy we will have to work at even harder in practice.
The next match was against Notre Dame, who we have already fenced many times this year. This time the sabre squad pulled off a 5-4 victory with freshmen Ania Parzecki and Cindy Oh winning two bouts each. After battling it out against the Fighting Irish on their home turf, we ultimately fell 20-7.
The third round proceeded with a match against Penn State, a team we have yet to compete against this season. It was refreshing to compete against fencers we have not seen since the Duke Duals of last year. Although we lost a close match, 16-11, the epée squad showed dominance again by winning their bouts 6-3.
The second half of the day looked brighter as we posted victories against Cleveland State, Detroit, and Wayne State. One benefit of the DeCiccio Duals is that we are able to focus our attention on Ohio State and Notre Dame, who we will be competing against in the upcoming Midwest Fencing Conference Championships on March 1-2 in South Bend. This allows us to analyze our mistakes against specific opponents, leaving room for correction out on the strip in a few weeks.
The weekend, although short, proved to be valuable in that we each walked away with a lesson learned and increased motivation to push for victory in a few weeks.
I want to give a special shoutout to Justin Blatner, our Sports Performance coach, who traveled with us this weekend. He was a great supporter for the Wildcats and became a lot more familiar with the sport of fencing.
Go 'Cats - Jen