NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The Yale men’s fencing team
traveled to New York to compete in the NYU Invitational fencing
tournament on Saturday, Jan. 24. The Bulldogs came away with a 3-2
record on the day, defeating NYU, Wayne State and Stevens Tech.
Yale lost to arguably the top two teams in the country, Notre Dame
and Ohio State. By defeating NYU, the Elis improved on last
year’s 2-3 record at the event.
“This performance was a good improvement over last year’s performance,” said captain Andrew Holbrook. “Its something we are all proud of. We had strong individual performances all day long. However, what was most impressive was how we performed as a team. Everyone supported, helped and worked with one another to bring out the best in the team. As we move towards Ivies, this is what was most exciting and important to see.”
The Bulldogs began the day with a 17-10 loss to Notre Dame, now ranked number one in the country. However, the defeat was an improvement over last year’s 19-8 loss to Notre Dame. Of note were Nathaniel Benzimra’s 3-0 performance in saber and John Gurrieri’s 2-1 performance in foil. Benzimra’s showing was especially impressive considering that Notre Dame has one of the toughest saber squads in the country. The Bulldogs then went on to convincingly defeat Stevens Tech and Wayne State, 19-8 and 17-10 respectively. Against Stevens Tech, the perennially strong foil squad fenced to a perfect 9-0 record—one that was highlighted by 3-0 performances by both Andrew Holbrook and sophomore Jonathan Holbrook.
Last year at this same tournament, the Bulldogs lost a 14-13 heartbreaker to a tough NYU team. On Saturday, the Elis were able to get some revenge on the hosts, defeating them by final score of 20-7. The foil squad compiled an 8-1 record and the epee squad contributed a 7-2 record. Among these totals were Gurrieri’s 3-0 record in foil, and Alexander Cohen’s matching 3-0 record in epee.
Finally, the Elis lost a tough one to Ohio State by a final score of 11-16. The saber and foil squads fenced especially competitively, both losing by final scores of 4-5.
“Against OSU, we definitely could have won,” noted Holbrook. “We will all be working on the lessons learned against them these coming weeks as we prepare for the Ivy League tournament.”
The Bulldogs benefited from many spectacular individual performances during the day. Senior epeeist Thomas Bell had a breakthrough day, compiling an overall record of 9-6. Bell showed consistency in his winning ways by fencing to 2-1 records against every team except Notre Dame. Meanwhile, Gurrieri finished the day with a record of 6-3, despite fencing only against Notre Dame, NYU and Ohio State. He continues to lead the team with a winning percentage of 84%. Finally, Benzimra racked up 10 wins against four losses, highlighted by his 3-0 performance against Notre Dame.
“As we head into next weekend’s home meet with Drew and Sacred Heart,” commented Holbrook, “we are all excited to again fence with a home crowd and show why we are one of the best teams in the nation.”
The Bulldogs will fence Drew and Sacred Heart next Saturday at 1 p.m. in the seventh-floor fencing salon in Payne Whitney Gymnasium.
Notre Dame: 10-17
Holbrook, A 0-1
Stevens Tech: 19-8
Holbrook, A 3-0
Holbrook, J 3-0
Wayne State: 17-10
Holbrook, A 2-1
Holbrook, J 0-1
Ohio State: 16-11
Holbrook, J 2-1
Report By Arsi Sefaj '11, Yale Sports Publicity