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Lady Blades Lose Final Match

By Sara Ontiveros
Team Member

The MIT women's varsity fencing team finished up their dual meet season with losses in two close matches at Harvard University on Saturday, including one to Harvard on a technicality.

The Lady Blades were ready to fence the Crimson fencers. They held their own in the first round, emerging 2-2 after victories by Felice E. C. Swapp '92 and Sara D. Ontiveros '93.

Two wins from Swapp and one each from Ontiveros and Kathryn A. Fricks '92 brought MIT thorugh the first half of the third round ahead, 6-4.

At this point, Heather L. Klaubert '94 began her match against Mae Ling Birney, the Harvard team captain. Klaubert had fenced in the first round, but Ronke Olabisi '93 substituted for her in the second round.

After Klaubert scored the first touch against Birney, Harvard coach Ben Zivkovic demanded that the bout be forfeited because MIT had not notified either Zivkovic or the Harvard team captain personally that a substitution was being made.

MIT had notified the meet's official scorekeeper of the substitution, a common practice. The bout was ruled forfeited, however. At the end of the third round, the score was tied at 6-6.

Fricks defeated a Harvard substitute player at the start of the fourth round. Klaubert then came up to fence, and Zivkovic claimed the bout should be forfeited because of the previous forfeit. He waived his claim to the forfeit, however. Harvard prevailed, 9-7.

The demands for forfeit angered Aria Romano '83, the MIT women's fencing team coach. "The unsportsmanlike behavior of the Harvard coach was truly unbelievable ... and it's too bad because the people who suffered were the students. They never got a chance to fence -- to do what they train so hard to do."

The fencers went on to split their matches with Navy, finishing 8-8 after four rounds. Ontiveros won all of her matches against Navy, but the match was decided on the basis of touches scored by each team -- MIT had only 56, while Navy scored 62.

Next weekend the women's fencing team will compete in the New England Regional Championships at Boston College.