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Fencing Ends Strong At Duke Invitational Team Closes Season with 2-2 Finish

By Evan L. Efstathiou
TEAM CAPTAIN

The fencing team finished off its season strong with a 2-2 finish at the 2000 Duke Invitational.

The Engineers began the day with a 17-10 win against #14 Ohio State, as mens foil finished 8-1, with Andre Van Horn ’01, Oliver Chadwick ’02, and Benjamin M. Vandiver ’00 going undefeated. Sabre followed with five victories, and epeeist Neal K. Devaraj ’02 swept all three bouts.

The competition intensified as MIT faced UNC-Chapel Hill, which had just defeated conference rival Brandeis 14-13. Sabre stepped up to the challenge with a 7-2 finish, inspired by a 5-4 comeback by Rafael Bras ’02 after being down 4-0. Paul J. Thordarson ’01 lead men’s epee with three wins as they dominated UNC.

Air Force gives MIT first loss

The first loss of the day came against Air Force Academy, led by one of the top-ranked epeeists in the U.S. Despite solid finishes by Philip W. Miller ’01 (2-1), Evan L. Efstathiou ’00 (2-1), and Chadwick (3-0), sabre and foil were unable to pick up the slack. Air Force continued on to a 17-10 victory.

MIT faced Duke in the last meet of the regular season. Duke, undefeated during the invitational, was caught by surprise as the engineers gave them the strongest challenge of the day.

MIT sabre began the match, finishing 4-5 after Efstathiou swept Duke’s sabre squad. Devaraj took two bouts against Duke’s epee, and Freshman Cheng-Wei Pei swept to give MIT a 13-12 lead going into the last round. Duke came back to win the final two bouts of the day and finish with a 14-13 win over the Engineers.

Top mens finishers at the invitational included Chadwick (10-2), Efstathiou (9-3), Miller (8-4), and Devaraj (8-4).

The mens sabre squad finished 2nd place overall at the invitational. Freshman Perry Hooker had a strong showing in his foil debut, finishing 1-2 for the day.

Engineers beat Div-I UPenn squad

Last Sunday, MIT Men’s fencing became the only team in the country to defeat #7 ranked University of Pennsylvania this year. The Engineers also defeated Yeshiva University, while losing to Rutgers, NYU, and #1 ranked Penn State.

Chadwick (foil), Devaraj (epee) and Miller (sabre) lead MIT by sweeping UPenn. Miller came back from a 3-0 deficit to defeat NCAA All-American Mike Golia in his last bout, while Chadwick commanded a 5-2 victory over Intercollegiate Fencing Association Champion David Cohen, brother of Ethan Cohen ’01. Miller, Devaraj, and Efstathiou also posted wins against Penn State.

“I saw some great strides these past two weeks,” said coach Jarek Koniusz. “I hope that they will carry this spirit over into the postseason.”

The Men finished the season with an 11-7 record, with wins over NCAA Division I schools Ohio State, UPenn, UNC-Chapel Hill, Harvard, and Boston College. They stand a good chance to make the Top 10 in the NCAA team rankings, following this and last year’s solid performances.

The Engineers now move on to defend their New England Division Championship title at Smith College on February 27th.