Feb. 27, 2014
EVANSTON, Ill. -- After a grueling dual schedule that saw No. 9 Northwestern post a record of 34-9, the Wildcats will shift their attention to postseason play this weekend when they travel to South Bend, Ind. for the 2014 Midwest Fencing Conference (MFC) Championships.
The 'Cats will competing this weekend in the team setting for the first time since Feb. 8, which was also the last time that they South Bend. Last time out, NU went 3-3 at the DeCicco Duals, hosted by Notre Dame.
Northwestern has a young team this season with only one senior and 19 freshmen and sophomores. Still, the Wildcats posted 842 individual victories this season. The epée squad led the charge with 300 wins, followed by the sabre squad with 281. The foil squad won 261 times in 2013-14.
The NU epée squad is this year led by a pair of All-America fencers. Junior Courtney Dumas, a 2013 All-American, led the group with 60 victories in 78 chances this season. Two-time All-American and Northwestern's lone senior Dina Bazarbayeva went 53-14. Sophomore Juliana Barrett shined with 54 triumphs, while newcomer Mandeep Bhinder had 48 wins during her inaugural season.
Underclassmen led the way for head coach Laurie Schiller and the sabre unit. Three freshmen won more than 60 bouts apiece, led by Julia Abelsky's 69 victories. Ania Parzecki won 63 matchups and Cindy Oh won 61. Squad captain Cara Franke won 37 bouts and Alisha Gomez-Shah posted a record of 25-5 despite being limited by injury.
Another freshman, Stephanie Chan, paced the foil squad with a mark of 39-19 during her first season in Evanston. Sophomore Jen Yamin was close behind Chan with 32 wins and classmate Mikela Goldstein had 26.
The MFC Championship is a two-event that rewards both individuals and teams. The individual competitions are scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 1 with the team event to take place the following day. Northwestern's last individual gold medal was won by Kate Cavanaugh in epée in 2012. Cavanaugh went on to finish tied for third at the NCAA Championships that season. NU's foil squad, anchored by four-time All-American Dayana Sarkisova finished first in 2012, as well. The last team title for the Wildcats was won in 2001, which was their third in a row.
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