Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 30, 2024

Men's fencing drops ranked foes

By JEFF SCHILL | January 31, 2013


Staff Writer


The Hopkins men’s fencing team headed north to Philadelphia this past weekend to compete in the Philadelphia Invitational. The Blue Jays put on a solid performance securing a victory against a ranked opponent.

The Blue Jays opened the day by squaring off against North Carolina (14-13). The Jays took wins in the Foil (6-3) and Epee (5-4), while the Tar Heels took the Sabre (6-3). In the Foil, junior Evan Stafford and freshmen John Petrie and Glenn Balbus each won two bouts.  Freshman Mark Zimmerman won all three of his rounds in the Epee. In the Sabre, freshman Josiah Yiu won two of his three bouts.

After taking down the Tar Heels, the Blue Jays took on Haverford. The Blue Jays continued with the momentum created by the initial victory and swept Haverford in all three weapons. Sophomore Robert Goldhirsch took two wins to set up the clinching victory by Balbus in the Foil. The Jays took the Epee with a score of 6-3 and in the Sabre, Yiu took command with three wins to give the Jays a 5-4 win against the Fords.

The Blue Jays continued their strong performance against Drew (20-7) with a big win 20-7. Petrie had three wins in the Foil, setting the pace for the 6-3 win, while the Jays took the Epee, 7-2 and the Sabre 7-2.

Despite the strong start, Hopkins fell to eighth ranked University of Pennsylvania. The Quakers swept all three weapons by a 6-3 score. However, the Blue Jays would bounce back against ninth- ranked Duke.

Despite only winning one weapon, the Blue Jays scored enough wins in the other two to take the victory against the Blue Devils. This was the first win against Duke since 2006 and first win against a ranked opponent since 2008. The performance showed how strong the Blue Jays team is this year. Not only were they able to defeat a top ten opponent, but also did so coming off of a tough loss to another ranked team.

In the final match of the invitational, the Blue Jays fell to a ranked Sacred Heart team, 15-12.

For the Blue Jays, Petrie led the way with 11 victories on the day. Junior Jay DeYoung won seven bouts and reached his 100th career victory with his performance.

The Blue Jays are now 11-5 on the season and will be back in action on February 9 at the Duke Invitational.




















Since mid December the Hopkins women’s basketball team has played in 11 additional games.  During that time, the Lady Jays went 8-3 bringing their record to 9-6 in the Centennial Conference and 10-9 overall.  Dating back to January 8th, the team has won 8 of their last 9 games, all in conference.  It certainly is a refreshing reversal, after starting off 1-4 in conference play.

The sole loss came on January 23, when the Jays fell 51-47 to Franklin and Marshall at home, despite maintaining a 47-44 lead with just 2:04 left in regulation.  However, in their two previous games, the Lady Jays crushed Bryn Mawr and Dickinson 86-29 and 70-46, respectively.  The three stars of the games were senior forward Alex Vasilla, sophomore guard Stacy Fairey, and freshman guard Liz Tommasi.  The three combined for 77 points in the two games, and the 6’1 Vasilla accumulated 29 rebounds.

The Lady Jays continued their dominance Tuesday night, rolling over Bryn Mawr on the road 72-32.  The Owls are in the tail end of a dismal season, going 0-14 in conference and 1-16 overall.  Helping in the trounce were the usual suspects with Vasilla’s 19 points and 9 boards, Fairey’s 13 points and 5 steals, and Tommasi’s 10 points and 7 rebounds.  Also contributing to the effort were sophomore guard Jessica Brown, sophomore center Ciara McCullagh, and freshman guard Scarlett McCracken who herself scored 5 points.

On November 27th in a heartbreaking 53-51 loss in Goldfarb Gymnasium against Washington College, junior guard Alyssa Fleming was lost for the season with an ACL tear.  Fleming had started all 6 games of the season, and head coach Nancy Funk gave Liz Tommasi the starting nod.  Since then Tommasi has averaged 8.3 points per game, just behind Fairey’s 10.2 PPG, and team leader Vasilla who is averaging a very impressive double-double for the season (11.8 PPG and 10.7 RPG).

Says Tommasi on her whirlwind freshman season, “Its been a great pleasure to be able to play and contribute to the team as a freshman.  All of the girls on the team are wonderful to be around and are all very encouraging of each other. I hope that we can give the seniors the season they deserve.  Our three seniors Alex Vasilla, Sarah Higbee, and Kara Follmer all have been very helpful in the transition from high school basketball to college, and as for who I look up to on the team, I have really hit it off with Alex.  We both seem to feed off of each other and motivate each other.”

Hopkins is now 9-6 in conference play, trailing the 8-5 Muhlenberg Mules by mere percentage points for third place in the Centennial Conference. The Jays are looking poised to overtake the Mules for third place, as the team cruised to a 52-44 victory on the road against them just this past Saturday.

With just over two weeks left in the season, the Lady Jays are looking to move up in the standings in the Centennial Conference. Swarthmore remains number one at 11-2 in conference, just ahead of Gettysburg’s 11-3 record.  There are 5 games remaining on the schedule, all in conference, and the Jays will have a legitimate shot at moving into second or first place.  Their next two games are at home, facing off against Gettysburg on Thursday at 6 PM and Swarthmore on Saturday at 3 PM. They will then play their final home game against McDaniel on February 6th, before closing out the season with road games against Ursinus (6-8) and Franklin and Marshall (4-11).  In their first meetings, Hopkins beat Swarthmore, Ursinus, and McDaniel, while losing narrowly to Gettysburg and Franklin and Marshall.

“This season was definitely a rough start for us” commented team leader Alex Vasilla, who recently became only the sixth Lady Jay to secure 800 rebounds.  “Coming off of two really successful years, it was kind of disappointing and frustrating since it was clear that we have a lot of talent and our team was loads better than our record showed. We faced a lot of adversity at the beginning of the year even before the season started with injuries that really hurt us. Haley Bush and Alyssa Fleming were tough setbacks, especially Alyssa because she was in a guard position, where we were already not deep. We tried a bunch of combinations, but finally found Liz, and everything clicked. We started playing together, reading each other, developing the type of chemistry that all of the veterans were used to from past seasons.  Now we have a lot of contributions coming from different players all the time, whereas before we were trying to force things to work.”

Coming down the homestretch, it looks to be a very exciting finish for the Blue Jays, who will undoubtedly be a factor in the Centennial Conference playoffs.  According to Vasilla, “The team’s morale going into these next few games is pretty serious.  We know how important both these games are in clinching a playoff spot for the post season. As long as we keep playing to win, and taking games one at a time, one battle at a time, we have the ability and confidence to blow both these teams out.”

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