The Penn men's fencing team will compete in the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships at Harvard this weekend against some of the top teams in the country. The meet is a 14-team round-robin tournament where all of the fencing squads involved play each other once. Unlike a normal 27-bout match, the IFAs feature nine-bout matches in which the fencers only participate in one bout against their closest counterpart. For example, the top fencer for each weapon from one squad faces only the top fencer from another squad. Highlighting the event are all five Ivy League fencing teams, along with perennial national power St. John's. Ivy rival Columbia dealt Penn (11-4, 3-1 Ivy League) its lone Ancient Eight loss of the season a week ago, and the team hopes to gain a small measure of revenge at the upcoming meet. "I'm looking forward to another chance at Columbia," Penn freshman foilist Jeff Breen said. "We'd really like to get a win against them." In particular, Penn's sabres, who could only muster one win against the strong Lion's sabre squad, are eager to get back on the winning side. "We're really looking forward to getting the win this Saturday," Penn junior sabre Jeffrey Lee said. On Saturday, the 14 teams face off against each other and the overall winner is determined. The top fencers then continue on to an individual tournament held on Sunday. A season ago, all three of Penn's sabres advanced to the individual tournament. Lee finished 12th overall while junior Dan Vincent finished 10th. Senior Mike Golia won the sabre tournament last year, but has since left the team. Golia has been replaced by senior David Cohen, who finished fourth in the foil event in last season's IFAs. Cohen switched over to sabre earlier this season, a move that energized a previously struggling unit. "It definitely helped the team," Lee said. "It was a tough move and he did a great job adapting, because everything is different." Penn finished fourth overall at IFAs a year ago. The men finished second while the women placed fifth. Princeton added to its Ivy League title of last season with a combined men and women's title at the event. St. John's is looking to repeat as the men's champions. The Quakers know that they need to move beyond last weekend's heartbreaking loss to Columbia at the Penn State Multi-Meet to succeed in post-season play. "We've already put it behind us," Breen said. "We're over it and happy that we're part Ivy League Champs. We're looking forward to the postseason and doing some good fencing."Comments powered by Disqus
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