NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Led by three wins from Jon Jacovino, the Sacred Heart men's fencing team won 14-13 at Yale on Saturday.
SHU battled through a slow start in the first round to trail Yale 5-4. Team captain Stuart Holmes and Jon Jacovino posted victories in foil and Tom Gerrity won in saber. Mike Fenech got a win in the first epee bout but both Khris White and Kevin Almerini got out to 4-1 leads in their bouts but were unable to hold on for wins. A similar result in the second round had the Pioneers down 10-8. Once again foil led the way with wins from Jacovino and Alex Harwood while solo wins were achieved by Almerini in epee and Ryan O'Halloran in saber.
In the critical final stanza all three squads stepped up to get two wins each. Highlights were big wins by substitute Chris DiPietro in saber, Kevin Almerini against Yale All-American Peter Cohen, and Tommy Gerrity against another All-American in Nate Benzimra. This set up the final winner-take-all bout between Stuart Holmes and Yale's Dyllon Lew in foil. After fierce competition for the first 45 seconds in which neither fencer was able to score, Holmes broke the ice with a strong parry – riposte and immediately scored in the next phase of action with a perfectly timed counter tempo attack. The Pioneer captain then controlled the remainder of the bout to seal the match with a 5-1 victory.
"This was an absolutely fantastic win for us today", said head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. "Yale has a very strong team that has gotten off to a fast start this season. They return two All-Americans and other All-Ivy performers. With Andrew Holmes being out of the lineup, we had five different starters from last year's team. We knew that Yale would be a big challenge. Jon Jacovino stepped up huge today. He fenced the kind of foil that we expect from him. He had a slump last semester and was having issues with finding the right distance but he worked very hard on this over the past two weeks and he looked sharp in practice. I am glad that he was able to dominate today. This was a true team victory today but I can't say enough about our foil squad. They continue to lead our team this season. This big win gives us momentum for next week's matches in Philly."
The Pioneers are back in action at Temple University on Saturday, January 26th at the Philadelphia Invitational. Action begins at 9 AM.