Jan. 31, 2013
EVANSTON, Ill.-- Northwestern spent the first month of 2013 on the road, but that changes this weekend when the Wildcats return to Evanston, Ill. for the second installment of the NU Duals at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion (SPAC). The two-day meet will be held Feb. 2-3 with bouts beginning at 8 a.m. each day.
Northwestern (25-3) hosted one set of NU Duals Nov. 16-18, 2012, but this time the competition is much stiffer. Five teams slated to compete this weekend, including the 'Cats, are currently ranked in the top 10 of the CollegeFencing360.com Coaches poll and another three are receiving votes.
On Saturday, Feb. 2 Northwestern will face five opponents, all of which it has seen already once this season. The Wildcats open the meet at 8 a.m. against UC San Diego, a team they defeated 23-4 at the Western Invitational on Jan. 12. Including that win, the 'Cats are 20-0 all-time against UCSD.
After squaring off against the Tritons, head coach Laurie Schiller's team will face three-consecutive opponents that it fenced just last weekend in either Philadelphia or New York City. NU will look to pick its second win in as many tries over No. 9 Temple before trying to avenge a tough defeat against Midwest Fencing Conference foe and defending National Champion, No. 4 Ohio State.
The Wildcats will close day one with matches against Fairleigh Dickinson and Cal Tech. In the previous matchups this season, Northwestern has downed those two squads by a combined score of 48-6.
On Sunday, Feb. 3 the 'Cats will fence five more opponents, but only one that they have faced in 2013. Northwestern opens the day, again at 8 a.m., against Stanford, a team that it narrowly defeated, 15-12, at the Western Invitational. Another team that is receiving votes in the poll, North Carolina, is next on the docket in the second round.
In the third round of the day the Wildcats will take on the nation's top-ranked team, the Princeton Tigers. Northwestern has split 10 matches all-time against the Ivy League opponent. The home team's participation in the NU Duals concludes Sunday with matches against Detroit and Cleveland State. NU is a combined 88-6 all-time against those two programs, including 27-0 wins over both at last year's Notre Dame Duals (Jan. 28. 2012).
Prior to the start of the action on Sunday at approximately 7:40 a.m., Northwestern's eight senior fencers and a team manager will be recognized in a brief ceremony and honored for their outstanding contributions to the success of the fencing program over the past four years.
No. 2 Notre Dame will also be in attendance this weekend, but they will not face Northwestern. The two squads fenced last weekend at the NYU Invitational and are scheduled to meet again at the Notre Dame Duals on Feb. 23.
Several Wildcats will look to step up for each of the three squads in the final home meet of the season. The epée squad led Northwestern with 79 wins at last weekend's Philadelphia and NYU Invitationals. Sophomore Courtney Dumas led all NU fencers with 25 victories, while fellow epéeist Dina Bazarbayeva tallied 24 of her own. Dumas was named a CollegeFencing360.com Primetime Performer for her efforts, which included a 5-4 victory over Notre Dame's Courtney Hurley, a 2012 Olympian and the National Fencer of the Week.
Three-time All-American Dayana Sarkisova returned to the lineup for the first time this season and showed no signs of rust. The senior foilist led her squad with 19 victories, while dropping only five bouts. Freshman Jen Yamin added 16 triumphs for the foil squad.
Two senior sabre fencers posted at least 20 victories in Philadelphia and New York. Chloe Grainger picked up 24 wins over two days, while squad captain Alicia Gurrieri collected 20.
Admission and parking is free at the 2013 NU Duals. The Henry Crown Sports Pavilion is located at 2311 Campus Dr. in Evanston along the shores of Lake Michigan.
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