W. Fencing takes second at Eastern Conference Championship

By EMILIE HOFFER | February 22, 2018

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HOPKINSSPORTS.COM Sophomore Erin Chen defended her individual title in the Sabre competition.

This past weekend, the women’s fencing team hosted the 2018 Eastern Women’s Fencing Conference Championship (EWFC) in Goldfarb Gym, taking second place in the team championship behind only the Stevens Institute of Technology Ducks. The Blue Jays ended their day 6-1, their only loss coming from a close 13-14 matchup against the Ducks.

Highlighting the weekend, seven Blue Jays took home individual medals. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays captured both the Foil and Sabre squad championships.

To open the competition, Hopkins took on the Vassar College Brewers, sweeping them in all three weapons. Leading the Jays on the Sabre squad was sophomore Erin Chen, who went 7-2, winning all three of her bouts. In Épée, sophomore Shivani Bisen (6-3) led her teammates, with junior Jaynie Criscione and freshman Shaina Morris finishing with two wins of their own.

Chen discussed the preparation that goes into training for big competitions toward the end of the season.

“We try to bout as much as possible before, giving feedback and pushing each other, so we are all at our best on competition day,” Chen said. “And throughout the process, we just have fun.”

The Foil squad, made up of freshman Brooke Stanicki and sophomore Katherine Xiang, who both went 3-0, finished with an 8-1 win over the Brewers. Hopkins would take the win over Vassar, 21-6.

Next, the Blue Jays took on Haverford College in another not-so-close matchup, taking the team win 21-6 over the Fords and once again sweeping in all three weapons.

Combining for six wins, Bisen and Morris led the Épée squad 8-1 against the Fords. Stanicki, competing in Foil, once again went undefeated, winning all three of her bouts, while the squad finished 6-3. Finally, the Sabre squad finished up the Blue Jay sweep, going 7-2 as Chen and sophomore Alicja Tomaszewski each won three bouts.

In the next three rounds, the Blue Jays would continue to sweep the competition, defeating the Hunter College Hawks (21-6), the Yeshiva College Maccabees (21-6), the Drew University Rangers (25-2) and the City College of New York (CCNY) Beavers (26-1). Hopkins would sweep in all three weapons against each of the three opponents.

Notably against the Hawks, both the Foil and the Sabre squads went undefeated. The Sabre squad would continue their successful run, going undefeated against the Maccabees and the Beavers and only dropping one bout to the Rangers. The Épée Squad would also go undefeated against CCNY.

In the seventh and final round of the afternoon, the Blue Jays faced the eventual victor, the Stevens Ducks, who edged out the Jays by a single point to claim the team title.

Both the Sabre and the Foil squads would take the lead for the Jays, but the decisive matchup came against the two team’s Épée squads. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays’ Épée squad struggled against the Ducks, dropping a 7-2 decision.

Still, a number of Blue Jays ended the day of competition with some extra hardware to take home with them. In the individual Épée championship, Morris took a fifth-place finish after a 15-8 win in the first round before dropping in a close 12-11 matchup to Julie McEldoon of Stevens in the semifinals. Bisen would finish ninth in the Épée.

In Foil, junior Rebecca Rosenthal opened the competition with a 15-5 win over Hannah Contreras of CCNY before ending her run in the quarterfinal round. Meanwhile, Xiang won her first two rounds of competition, eventually finishing in the semifinals of the Foil competition, tying for third place.

Hopkins took the EWFC Foil title for the fifth time in school history and the first time since 2014.

However, the highlight of the individual competitions on the day came in the Sabre competition. The Blue Jays impressively swept the top three spots in the Sabre, as Chen defended her EWFC Foil Championship title, becoming the only fencer in school history to win multiple Sabre titles. She was also honored as Fencer of the Year for her consistently impressive performance.

Chen opened the first round of competition with a 15-5 win over Vassar’s Lilia Hutchinson, followed by a 15-8 win over Drew’s Emily Huber. In the semifinal round, Chen took on her teammate, Tomaszewski, winning 15-9 to advance into the finals. Tomaszewski would end her run in the competition tying for third.

The finals of the Sabre competition put the Jays head to head, as Chen took on her teammate, freshman Rebecca Zhou. Ultimately, Chen took her second straight title with a 15-10 win over Zhou, who finished second.

“It feels great to take the Sabre title, but I am even happier that the Sabre squad took 1-2-3,” Chen said. “Fencing in some respects is an individual sport, but I could not have done well without the help from my teammates and coaches.”

Chen’s final win of the day marked her 177th career win, putting her at fifth in program history. Additionally, the Sabre squad’s win this year marked the Blue Jays’ second straight title and fifth overall.

The successful day of competition culminated in numerous All-EWFC honors: Bisen and Rosenthal both earned Second Team All-EWFC honors, and Xiang, Zhou, Tomaszewski, Morris and Chen all earned First Team All-EWFC honors.

The Blue Jays continue their season as they head to Philadelphia this weekend for the Temple Invitational hosted by the Temple University Owls on Saturday, Feb. 24.

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