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Men’s Fencing Fares Well

Team Tops Harvard But Loses to Brown

By Phillip W. Miller

The men’s fencing is off to a strong start with four wins in the last two weeks. MIT (4-1, 3-1 Northeast Fencing Conference) tallied wins over Harvard University, Dartmouth College, UMass-Amherst and Boston University, and lost a close match to Brown University.

Last Friday, MIT traveled up Massachusetts Avenue for an emotionally charged match against Harvard. Led by their new coach, Peter Brand, formerly of Brown, Harvard was looking to avenge a 21-6 loss last year.

The Sabre squad, who swept 9-0 last year, set the tone by taking all three bouts in the first round this year. Foil and Epee also tallied first round victories, going 2-1 and 1-2 respectively, to push MIT out to a 6-3 lead.

The second round proved more difficult on the Engineers, with only Sabre able to manage two victories. Going into the final round, MIT trailed 8-10, and would need to finish strong at 6-3 to win.

With tensions high, Sabre swept the final round to provide three of the necessary six victories, which set the stage for a thrilling conclusion. The first of the necessary wins was provided by A strip foilist Oliver J. Chadwick ’02. A strip epeeist Paul J. Thordarson ’01 followed this with one of his best and gutsiest bouts and a 5-4 victory. Dancing and darting, B strip foilist Benjamin M. Vandiver ’00 secured the final necessary victory to carry the Engineers to a 14-13 victory.

In a tight match like this, literally every victory counted. In sabre, captain Evangelos L. Efstathiou ’00 and Rafael E. Bras ’02 won all three of their bouts, with Phillip W. Miller ’01 taking two out of three.

Vandiver and Chadwick both took two victories for foil, and epeeist Brendan Miller ’02 got his first NCAA victory in a key situation.

Brown a more difficult opponent

In addition to the Harvard meet, MIT hosted a Northeast Fencing Conference Meet on November 14. The men’s team opened with an 18-9 trouncing of Dartmouth, with a large number of substitutes fencing.

MIT then defeated UMass-Amherst 15-12, before running into a formidable challenge in Brown.

MIT started against the strong Brown Sabre squad by sweeping the first round, including a 5-1 victory by Phillip Miller over Brown’s Paul Friedman who is ranked 21st in the country, and finished up 5-4 overall.

Foil added six more wins, but the very strong Brown Epee squad took eight out of nine bouts, with Neal K. Devaraj ’02 providing the lone win for MIT. Overall, Brown took the contest 15-12.

MIT rebounded from this hard loss to crush Boston University 16-11, with alternates and beginners again handling most of the fencing.

“Overall, I am very pleased with the way that this season is starting,” said Coach Jarek Koniusz. “Our starters have shown that, with proper focus, they can beat nearly anyone in the league. Our new fencers have gotten some experience, and looked good doing so.”

MIT’s next meet will be December 4 at Brandeis University, where they will face St. John’s, Brandeis, Brown, Boston College and Vassar College.