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For the Penn women's fencing team, the regular season is over. Now it's crunch time. The Quakers (8-8) will travel to Yale this weekend to begin the postseason with the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championship. The two-day meet begins with a team tournament tomorrow in which the Red and Blue will square off against 12 other schools. The top fencers will then qualify for the individual tournament, which will take place Sunday. Of the 12 teams that Penn will be going against, the Quakers defeated five in the regular dual-meet season, while coming up short against five others. They did not fence against the other two schools -- Boston College and Vassar. However, the structure of IFAs differs markedly from that of previous dual meets. In the regular season, each fencer would fence all three of her opponents with a certain weapon. In the IFAs, however, each fencer is seeded A, B or C (based on skill level) and goes against the fencer paired against her from the opposing school. That being the case, each athlete will fence 12 bouts on the day, and each weapon squad will fence 36. The overall victor is then determined by the combined record of all three weapons. While the Quakers lost to five of the schools that will be in New Haven, they still believe they can place very well. While Penn's goal is to take home the whole enchilada, they realistically expect to finish in at least the top four or five. "Our people are good enough to get a good result," Penn coach Dave Micahnik said. "The top third is a realistic goal?. Anything better than that is wonderful." But while many have high expectations, Penn's freshmen, who have been an integral part of the team this year, are not quite sure what to expect in what will be their first collegiate postseason tournament. "I'm really nervous, because it's a really tough field," epeeist Kim Linton said. Nevertheless, the newcomers are looking forward to the event. "I don't really know what to expect, but I think the days will be long and challenging," foilist Stacey Wertlieb said. "And they will probably serve as good indicators for how well we match up to opposing upperclassmen." And while the freshmen will be fencing in their first postseason tournament, it will be the last for Penn's four seniors. "Careers are winding down for some, while taking off for others," Micahnik said. But newcomers and veterans alike will have to come together to try and put an exclamation mark on their 1999-2000 season. "There is no other competition like this in the country," senior captain Heba Abdulla said. "It's a very prestigious honor to win this tournament and a great way to culminate the season."

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