Pioneers Take Down Columbia and NYU Thursday Night

Kristopher White

NEW YORK - The 15-8 Sacred Heart men's fencing team traveled to NYU's Coles Athletic Center Thursday night to face the Columbia Lions and NYU Violets. 

The sixth-ranked Lions decided to hold out several starters in anticipation of the Ivy League Championships this weekend and Sacred Heart took advantage of the opportunity to dominate the epee (8-1) and foil (7-2) to post a 15-12 win.  Leading the way in this match were sophomore Kristopher White and graduate student Jeremiah German who were both a perfect 3-0.  They were joined with perfect performances by sophomore Andrew Holmes who went 3-0 in foil. 

"This was a nice win for us today", head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel said.  "Despite resting several starters, Columbia is loaded with talent and the replacements were all A-level fencers, so this result is still very satisfying.  All we can do is give our all to beat any opponent placed in front of us.  Foil and epee were, for the most part, in focus but there were three losses that occurred simply because of a loss of focus.  We cannot afford these lapses in the future if we are to achieve our potential.  Saber continues to show flashes of brilliance that can't be maintained long enough to win bouts against elite opponents.  Hopefully our sophomore starters will achieve the desired level of consistency next season.  It is a challenge trying to win a meet with only contributions from two weapons but we seem to find a way this season".

The Pioneers then took on a full strength NYU team that defeated them by a 14-13 margin back in December.  The Pioneer foil squad dominated with a seven win performance to pace Sacred Heart to a 15-12 victory.  Team captain Stuart Holmes was in top form and went a perfect 3-0.  Andrew Holmes, epeeist Mike Fenech, and saber squad captain Thomas Gerrity pitched in with two wins each. 

"I am pleased that the guys were able to perform at a better level than in December and get this important win", said Dr. Vrabel.  "Last year at this meet we had to rely on eight wins from saber to pull out a narrow victory against NYU.  With the same fencers for each squad, our foilists went from 3-7 last year to 7-2 this year.  All of the NYU foil fencers are very good and this performance shows what we are capable of if we can put it all together.  Epee fought hard but once again mental mistakes cost us three bouts.  Saber was able to make an important contribution and the two wins by Tommy Gerrity were crucial.  Saber is so close to breaking out.  I hope that they can get there this season."

The Pioneers will be back in action at Brandeis on February 23rd for the New England Intercollegiate Conference Championship Tournament.  The men's epee and foil squads and the women's epee squad will compete on February 24th at the National Collegiate Squad Championships at Ohio State.