Nov. 19, 2008
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - With the Penn State Open behind them, and the Dernell Every Open a success, the Yale women's fencing team is looking forward to opening its season with the Brandeis Open on Dec. 12. The Brandeis Open will kick off four months of competition for the Bulldogs that will, according to captain Lidia Gocheva, be helped by the strong team spirit that the fencers have developed over the course of the year.
Captain Lidia Gocheva (foil) and junior Rebecca Moss (epee), will lead the Bulldogs when they head to Waltham, Mass., for their first competition of the season. Gocheva qualified for the NCAA Championship last year and was named second team All-Ivy. Moss was named first team All-Ivy last year and qualified for the NCAA Championship during her freshman year.
This year's foil squad is looking very strong. Gocheva is looking forward to very good results from freshmen Valeria Makeeva and Katharine Pitt as they make their debuts in collegiate fencing. They both placed in the top 16 at the Penn State Open. Junior Katherine Arden echoed this sentiment by noting how impressed she was by "the dedication of this year's freshmen and the strength of the freshmen foilists in particular."
The Bulldogs' epee squad has also proven that it can perform well. Last year at the IFA Championships (where most of the squad's major rivals were in attendance), Moss, senior Abigail Fraeman, sophomore Pruittiporn Kerdchoochuen and sophomore Tasha Garcia placed second among all epee squads.
"I'm really excited about the team this year!," said Fraeman. "We only lost one senior last year, and our freshmen are very strong. It was really frustrating last year that we missed beating several Ivy League schools by only a few touches, but I'm sure this year we'll do much better. Our team chemistry is awesome, and I know this will help us pull through when we're in tight situations. We already proved we are a strong squad at the Penn State Open, and I can't wait to see what we're capable of when we face our first team competitions at Brandeis."
"She is studying abroad for the fall semester, but will be an essential part of the team in the spring," noted captain Gocheva.
After the Brandeis Invitational on Dec. 12, the Bulldogs head to Vassar on Jan. 17 for their first one-on-one competition. The following weekend sees the team heading down to the NYU Invitational in New York City. On Jan. 31, the Bulldogs take on Sacred Heart at home. This will be their last competition before the Ivy South Competition on Feb. 8 hosted by Columbia. This competition and the Ivy North Competition in Providence, R.I., on Feb. 22 will be the most important team competitions according to captain Gocheva. Between the two Ivy competitions, the Bulldogs will send individual fencers to compete at Junior Olympics from Feb. 13 to Feb. 16.
Yale's fencers finish out their season with the IFA Championship in Waltham, Mass., on Feb. 28. Although the IFA Championships are separate from the NCAA schedule, they are a premier fencing tournament and the oldest collegiate championship in the country. They also serve as an important tune-up for the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships.
The NCAA Regional Championship will take place on Mar. 8 in Cambridge, Mass. The NCAA National Championship will occur Mar. 21-22 in University Park, Pa. Fencers who win 25% of their regular season matches qualify for Regionals. To qualify for the NCAA Championships, fencers must finish in the top 8. The team is optimistic about seeing Yale fencers in both of these events, in what it hopes will be the end of a great season.
Report filed by Dominique Fenton '10, Yale Sports Publicity