Jan. 24, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Seventh-ranked Northwestern faces its busiest weekend of the young dual season with back-to-back stops in the City of Brotherly Love and the Big Apple on the docket, Jan. 26-27.
Northwestern is 16-0 through its first two dual meets having outscored its opponents by a cumulative score of 387-45. This weekend the Wildcats will fence against five top-10 teams as ranked in the CollegeFencing360.com Coaches poll, which was unveiled for the first time this season Tuesday. Three other teams on the upcoming schedule are receiving votes in this week's edition, which has NU slotted at No. 7.
The Wildcats open the trip Saturday, Jan. 26 at Temple University in the Philadelphia Invitational. Northwestern opens the one-day meet at 7:30 a.m. CT against No. 10 Penn and will also take on (in order) Sacred Heart, Fairleigh Dickinson, ninth-ranked Temple, Drew and Cornell at McGonigle Hall.
NU is a combined 62-32 all-time against the field of the 2013 Philadelphia Invitational. The most wins for head coach Laurie Schiller's squad have come against FDU (17), while the closest match-up has been against the host Owls. Temple leads the all-time series against the 'Cats, 17-15, including a pair of one-point triumphs in 2012. Northwestern enters the weekend undefeated all-time against both Drew (8-0) and Sacred Heart (4-0).
The test gets tougher the following day when the Wildcats travel north to New York City for the NYU Invitational at the Jerome S. Coles Sports Center. Schiller's group opens the meet at 7 a.m. CT against No. 3 Columbia before fencing Yale, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 4 Ohio State and Wayne State to round out the day.
Not only do the Fighting Irish and Buckeyes represent fierce Midwest Fencing Conference rivals for NU, but those two programs are also the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Champions, respectively.
Northwestern's three squads are fencing well heading into the third and fourth dual meets of the season. Sophomore Courtney Dumas leads the epée squad with 21 wins this season, one more than teammate and fellow NCAA Championship qualifier, junior Dina Bazarbayeva. Kendrick Mooney has performed well with 16 victories, while 2012 First Team All-American Kate Cavanaugh also has 10 triumphs in limited action.
The youthful foil unit has been paced by a quartet of underclassmen in the early going this season. Freshman Charlotte Sands has racked up 33 wins in 35 bouts, including a team-high 12 at the Western Invitational on Jan. 12. Sands' classmate, Jen Yamin, has 32 wins in 33 tries and is coming off of a seventh-place finish in junior women's epée at the January North American Cup on Jan. 18. Sophomore Mary Spohn and freshman Mikela Goldstein also have at least 20 wins for NU in 2012-13. As a squad, the foil group is yet to lose a round this season and has dominated its opponents, 133-11.
The Wildcat sabre squad is a much more experienced corps led by seniors Alicia Gurrieri and Chloe Grainger. Gurrieri leads not only the squad, but also the entire team with 34 victories in dual competition this season. Grainger has 20 wins to her credit and freshman Cara Franke has chipped in with 26 of her own.
After wrapping up the weekend on the East Coast, the 'Cats will return home to host the NU Duals Feb. 2-3 at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion. The two-day meet opens Saturday, Feb. 2 at 8 a.m. when the Wildcats fence against UC San Diego.
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