March 2, 2014
Midwest Fencing Conference Championship|
Joyce Center South Bend, Ind.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Northwestern's lone senior Dina Bazarbayeva rose to the occasion at the Midwest Fencing Conference (MFC) Championship this weekend by claiming an individual gold medal in epée and leading the Wildcats to a third-place finish in the team event.
The MFC Championships began on Saturday, March 1 with the epée fencers first on the docket. Bazarbayeva had secured the third seed for the direct elimination tournament, while four of her teammates also received exemptions from pool play. Courtney Dumas was seeded fourth, while freshman Mandeep Bhinder was seventh, one slot ahead of sophomore Juliana Barrett. Another sophomore, Kaitlyn Wallace, was the 11th seed in the field of 61.
Each of the top-seeded NU epée fencers breezed through the field to reach the quarterfinals. Barrett was defeated by Notre Dame's Ashley Severson in her bid to reach the semifinals, while Dumas was denied a bid in the next round after she dropped a tight two-touch bout to ND's Nicole Ameli. Bhinder was a thrilling 15-13 bout against Jen Novo from the University of Chicago. Bazarbayeva and Wallace were actually pitted against one another with the senior getting the best of the sophomore, 15-8.
The semifinals saw Severson and Ameli on one side and Bazarbayeva and Bhinder on the other. Ameli won the matchup between the Fighting Irish, 11-10, and Bazarbayeva won the clash between the 'Cats, 15-7. Bhinder and Severson tied for third place.
In the gold-medal match, Bazarbayeva had her back against the wall as she trailed Ameli 13-9. The Houston, Texas, native meticulously rallied for six consecutive touches to outlast Ameli, 15-13, and claim the top spot on the podium.
The Wildcats drew three top-12 seeds in the women's foil competition. Sophomore Jen Yamin was seeded eighth, one spot ahead of freshman Stephanie Chan. Chan's classmate, Sarit Kapon, earned the 12th seed.
In the direct elimination portion of the day, Yamin and Chan faced off in the round of 16. Yamin won the bout, 15-9, before falling to Notre Dame's Lee Kiefer in the quarterfinals. Northwestern's Kapon, Mikela Goldstein and Stella Pointeau each reached the round of 16, as well, before bowing out Saturday. Kiefer won the individual gold over Ohio State's Mona Shaito.
Three Wildcats, all freshmen, were top-12 seeds for the women's sabre competition, as well. Cindy Oh was seeded fifth, followed by Ania Parzecki at sixth. Teammate Julia Abelsky was eighth heading into the direct elimination. All three cruised into the quarterfinals before falling Saturday. Oh lost a close bout, 15-12, to the eventual champion, Ohio State's Alexa Antipas.
The team event took over on Sunday and the Wildcats finished third overall. Northwestern claimed the third spot in all three weapons on the final day of competition. In sabre, NU defeated Bradley, 5-0, and Oakland, 5-1, to set up a battle with Notre Dame. The 'Cats lost to ND in the semifinals, but whitewashed Michigan State, 5-0, in the third-place match.
In foil, NU bested Case Western and Wayne State by identical 5-0 scores before falling to Ohio State in the semifinals. The Wildcats rebounded to topple Lawrence in the third-place match, 5-0.
The Wildcats cruised to the semifinals in epée, as well, with 5-0 wins over Illinois and Wayne State. In the semifinals, Northwestern lost to Notre Dame, but the Purple and White bounced back to knock off Chicago, 5-3, to claim third place.
Several Wildcats captured All-MFC honors over the weekend. Bazarbayeva and Bhinder were named to the first team in epée, while seven others earned MFC second team honors.
Northwestern will travel to Detroit, Mich., next weekend for the NCAA Midwest Regional at Calihan Hall on the campus of the University of Detroit. The competition begins at approximately 7 a.m. CT on Saturday, March 8.
Be the first to know what's going on with the 'Cats -- Follow @NU_Sports on Twitter, become a fan of Northwestern Athletics on Facebook, subscribe to the NU Sports Express e-newsletter and sign up to receive promotional text alerts for the latest news, schedule updates and video and to interact with NU. For more information on following specific Northwestern teams online, visit our Social Media page!