PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Sacred Heart men's fencing team travelled to Brown University on Saturday for the first weekend of Northeast Fencing Conference action for the season. Led by a 36-9 performance by the epee squad, Sacred Heart defeated Brandeis 15-12, University of New Hampshire 27-0, MIT 17-10, and Boston University 24-3 before losing to Brown 15-12 in the day's finale.
In the important Brown contest, the Pioneers fell behind 12-6 but launched a furious comeback in the last round, bringing the score to 13-11 with the three final bouts remaining. Jonathan Jacovino had an exciting come from behind win in epee against Simon Jones to close to 13-12 but Brown's Alex Palabrica defeated SHU's Thomas Gerrity in the next bout to close out the Pioneers.
The Sacred Heart epee squad had a fantastic day, with big 6-3 wins over MIT and Brown and a 7-2 record against Brandeis. The squad was led on the day by Jacovino (12-2), Devon Clark (11-3) and Kristopher White (10-3). Gerrity returned to action and led the saber squad (27-18) with an 11-4 record. Foil was 32-13 and was led by strong performances from Alex Harwood (11-3) and Andrew Holmes (11-4).
"I am very pleased with our intensity and effort today", commented head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. "We gave it everything we had but Brown fenced very well and jumped out to a lead that we just could not come back from. Our epee squad had an incredible day. Both MIT and Brown's epee squads are made up of A-level fencers with national and international experience. For Jon, Khris and Devon to fence the way they did was very satisfying. I knew that we had this potential, I just did not know when it would manifest itself. I look for our epee squad to be very strong all season".
"Tommy Gerrity fought hard all day", continued Vrabel. "Tommy had to sit out for ten days because of a concussion and he only got in two days of practice before this key day of action. His performances against Brandeis and MIT were awesome. I think fatigue got to him by the final match against Brown and he just was not as sharp in that match. Tommy is having a great year and I know that he will be back to full speed by the Tradition Meet on Dec 8. Alex Harwood was also super in foil. He had two very critical first bout wins against Julian Cardillo of Brandeis and Barrett Weiss of Brown. Our team is still gelling as a unit. We only have three full time starters (Holmes, Gerrity, and Jacovino) from last year starting this season. We are still improving and have not yet reached our full potential."
The Pioneers are back in action on Sunday, December 8th at the Pitt Center when they host 2013 NCAA Champions Princeton, as well as Harvard, Penn State, NYU, and Stevens Tech in the 2013 Tradition Tournament. Action begins at 10 AM.