QUEENS, N.Y. – Notre Dame fencing team claimed eight of a possible 10 dual match victories on Saturday at the St. John’s Invitational at the Taffner Fieldhouse and Carnesecca Arena.
The Irish women, the No. 2 team, swept all five of its head-to-head contests on the day, defeating defending NCAA champion and current No. 4 Ohio State (14-13), No. 5 Penn State (17-10), No. 8 Harvard (14-13), No. 6 St. John’s (14-13) and No. 3 Columbia (20-7).
On the men’s side, No. 3 Notre Dame picked up three team wins, downing No. 1 Ohio State (16-11), No. 6 Harvard (17-10) and No. 7 Columbia (16-11). The Irish were on the wrong side of decisions against No. 2 Penn State (8-19) and No. 5 St. John’s (13-14) to close with a 3-2 mark for the competition.
Senior captain Courtney Hurley compiled the best individual winning percentage of the day, posting a .926 clip (13-1 record) to pace the women’s epee team. The 2011 NCAA epee champion dropped her sole match of the day to Ohio State’s Kasia Dabrowa (3-5).
Fellow senior captain Ewa Nelip also reached double-digits in the win column, closing the invitational with an 11-4 mark in the epee. Nelip swept all of her bouts against Ohio State (3-0) and Columbia (3-0).
In the women’s foil, freshman Lee Kiefer opened her Notre Dame career with a 9-3 record, which included a 3-0 mark against defending national champion Ohio State. Senior captain Grace Hartman (5-4) and freshman Nicole McKee (5-2) also finished above .500 for the Irish women’s foil squad.
The trio of Lian Osier (8-7), Abigail Nichols (8-7) and Johanna Thill (6-3) led women’s sabre to two squad bout wins, a pair of 6-3 victories over Harvard and Columbia. Osier and Nichols won all three of their individual bout rounds against Harvard.
Senior James Kaull and freshman Garrett McGrath were the catalysts for the Irish in men’s epee, securing 25 of 27 wins during the competition. Kaull (13-2) went a perfect 3-0 against Ohio State, Harvard and Columbia, while McGrath (12-3) added clean bout marks against Ohio State, Penn State and Harvard.
Junior Ariel DeSmet, the 2011 NCAA champion in the men’s foil, opened the 2013 season with a 13-2 bout mark to pace Notre Dame in the weapon. DeSmet won all three tilts against Ohio State, Harvard and Columbia.
Junior Kevin Hassett (9-6) and freshman John Hallsten (8-7) powered the men’s sabre squad to a 4-1 head-to-head record. The Irish sabreurs posted the best win-loss record of the day against top-ranked Ohio State, finishing 7-2.