Penn men’s fencing team remains undefeated
Both men and women's teams perform well at Eric Sollee Invitational
February 5, 2012, 6:14 pm·
One week after Penn men’s fencing pulled a surprise upset over No. 1 Penn State, the team returned to action on Saturday at the Eric Sollee Invitational.
The Quakers continued their undefeated ways, winning decisively against five teams, including a victory over a very talented New York University squad.
“Men’s sabre, men’s foil, men’s epee all pulled their weight,” assistant coach Randall LeMaster said.
Rene Gannon-O’Gara, a freshman who fences epee, agreed.
“We all did our job and, you know, it paid off.”
The Eric Sollee Invitational, held in Waltham, Mass., was the last tournament before the Ivy League Championships, which take place next week.
For the women’s team, a 14-13 loss to Boston College ruined an otherwise strong day.
Going into the tournament, the team believed NYU would be its toughest opponent of the day, but Penn had an outstanding performance and bested its Greenwich Village opponent, 22-5
Against the Eagles, the women’s squad lost by a single bout for the second time in two weeks.
“It kind of snuck up on us,” LeMaster said. “We made adjustments. It was too late.”
Yet for the women, the day was an overall success. Each member of the team qualified for NCAA Regional Championships. Foil, in particular, continued its excellent season — the team is unbeaten at the position.
Next week at the Ivy Championships, the men will face Harvard and Princeton. Both rivals are ranked ahead of No. 7 Penn, but the Quakers remain the only undefeated team in the country. However, LeMaster is still cautious in believing the Red and Blue are the best.
“We’re working to get there,” he said. “It’s better to have a goal ahead of you than to rest on your laurels.”
“We’re definitely up there,” Gannon-O’Gara added. “We’re looking pretty good going into the Ivies 16-0.”
The women’s team is in a more difficult position. Its epee fencers are wracked with injuries, and three of the four members of the team who fence sabre are freshmen.
At 11-4, LeMaster is impressed with how the women are doing and is looking forward to his young squad’s future.
“Next year or so,” he said, “They’re going to make a lot of noise.”