Jan. 30, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- For the first time since Nov. 2-3, 2013, the seventh-ranked Northwestern Wildcats will hit the strips in Evanston this weekend as they host the NU Duals at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion on Saturday, Feb. 1 and Sunday, Feb. 2.
The 'Cats (23-4) will fence six duals on the event's opening day. NU opens bright and early at 8 a.m. CT with a showdown against (RV) UC San Diego. The Wildcats have already defeated the Tritons once this season, 20-7, at the Western Invitational on Jan. 11.
Once the showdown with UCSD is completed, Northwestern will face a pair of squads that it saw just last Sunday at the Philadelphia Invitational. NU will first look to avenge an earlier 15-12 defeat against No. 9 Temple before looking to knock off No. 8 Penn for the second time in less than a week.
After battling two teams from the Keystone State, the Wildcats will square off against Duke, which also received votes in the first edition of the CollegeFencing360.com coaches poll that was released on Jan. 22. The Blue Devils narrowly edged the 'Cats in the last battle between the two, winning 14-13 in Durham, N.C. on Feb. 10, 2013.
Following a break, Northwestern will close its rounds on Saturday by taking on Caltech at approximately 1:30 p.m., and Tufts an hour later. Like UC San Diego, NU has already taken down Caltech once this season; the Wildcats posted a 27-0 triumph over the Beavers at the Western Invitational.
The NU Duals, which is a co-ed meet, continues through Saturday afternoon, but the hosts will not return to competition until Sunday, Feb. 2 at 8 a.m. Northwestern opens against Fairleigh Dickinson before tangling with North Carolina, another team that received votes in the CF360 poll.
At approximately 10 a.m. on Sunday, NU will go toe-to-toe with the nation's top-ranked team, Princeton. The Tigers, the 2013 NCAA Champions, barely escaped with a 15-12 victory against Northwestern at last season's NU Duals. One of NU's victories in that dual came when All-American Courtney Dumas downed Princeton's 2012 U.S. Olympian, Susannah Scanlan, 5-4.
The final foe on NU's schedule is Lawrence. The Wildcats easily won this season's first meeting between the two programs on Nov. 2, 26-1.
The NU Duals will be the final opportunity for the squad's lone senior, Dina Bazarbayeva, to fence in front of a home crowd. The Houston, Texas, native is a two-time All-America epéeist who owns more than 200 career victories for the Wildcats. Bazarbayeva will be recognized in a brief ceremony prior to the start of fencing (approximately 7:45 a.m.) on Saturday, Feb. 1.
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