PHILADELPHIA - The Sacred Heart men's fencing team, ranked 11th in the latest CollegeFencing360.com poll, went 4-2 at the Philadelphia Invitational on Saturday at Temple.
The Pioneers defeated North Carolina 15-12, Johns Hopkins 15-12, Haverford 21-6 and NJIT 23-4 while dropping matches to Penn 19-8 and Duke 17-10. The Pioneers were able to avenge a 14-13 loss to North Carolina in December and shut down a confident Johns Hopkins team right after they posted a 14-13 upset victory over Duke.
The team was led on the day by the foil tandem of team captain Stuart Holmes (16-2) and sophomore Jonathan Jacovino (13-4). Holmes dominated all day and only had one win where the margin of victory was one touch. Jacovino continued to excel off of his perfect day at Yale last weekend and provided critical wins in the North Carolina and Johns Hopkins matches. Holmes and Jacovino paced the foil squad to an overall record of 37-17. The epee squad was solid on the day (34-20) and had a balanced attack from Jermiah German (11-4), Michael Fenech (11-4) and Kevin Almerini (7-5). Epee's 7-2 performance against Johns Hopkins was critical in securing that win. The young saber squad continued to struggle, going 21-33 on the day.
"I am pleased with our performance today", said head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. "We were well prepared for the start of competition but a one hour delay due to the weather seemed to dull our focus and we just were not confident against Duke. We should have been much more competitive in this match. We were able to get back to Pioneer Fencing against North Carolina and control that close match from the first rotation. We had our best overall performance against Johns Hopkins and we shut down a team that was coming off of a big win. I give a lot of that credit to captain Stuart Holmes who called a huddle and challenged the team to excellence in this one. His competitive focus and passion was infectious and I know that the team won this one for him."
"I can't say enough about how well Stu Holmes and Jon Jacovino are fencing", added Dr. Vrabel. "Andrew Holmes was still showing the effects of coming off of Mono but he fought hard as always. We still need to address focus and self confidence issues in epee and saber. I feel that these two squads just have not fenced up to their potential and confidence remains at the heart of the issue. We will get back to work on this in practice this week. We have to be ready for the Yale rematch on Saturday. This will tell us a lot about what our team is made of."
The Pioneers are back in action on Saturday, February 2nd for a 12 p.m. start at Vassar to take on Drew, Yale and Hunter College.