POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - The Sacred Heart men's fencing kicked off their 2013-2014 dual match season on Saturday, November 9th with six contests at the Vassar Invitational. The Pioneers went undefeated with wins over Haverford (14-13), Stevens Tech (16-11), Vassar (17-10), Lafayette (21-6), Hunter (23-4) and Yeshiva (25-2).
The toughest challenges were at the start and end of the day with a tough win over a determined Haverford squad. Sophomore saber fencer George Dzialo (Pawtucket, R.I.) stepped up and posted two key wins to go with freshman Adyel Duran's (West Nyack, N.Y.) 3-0 performance. Saber led the way with seven of the team's 14 victories in this match.
The Pioneers faced a much improved Stevens Tech team in the last match of the day. Stevens was also undefeated going into this match and they had had a big win against NYU earlier in the week. Both teams came out intense and enthusiastic, and the feel at the Walker Field House was electric. The Pioneers took a 5-4 lead after the first round on the strength of two wins each from foil and saber. Sacred Heart took charge in the second round with seven victories to go ahead 12-6. The match was sealed with team captain Kevin Almerini's (Middletown, N.J.) 5-4 win over Stevens' Losan Koester to get the critical 14th victory.
Epee led the way with a 42-12 record and was led by Devon Clark's (Teaneck, N.J.) 9-1 day and solid performances by Michael Fenech (Prescott, Ariz.) (8-1), Jonathan Jacovino (Brownfield, Maine) (7-2), Almerini (8-3) and Cody Richard (Suffield, Conn.) (6-1). Foil and Saber had identical 39-15 marks. Foil was paced by Andrew Holmes (Centereach, N.Y.) (10-3) and Alex Harwood (Brentwood, N.Y.) (11-3) while saber was led by Chris DiPietro (Readington, N.J.) (10-2) and Duran (8-2).
"I must admit I was concerned that we did not have Tommy Gerrity available today as he is the heart of our saber squad", said head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel. "Freshman Adyel Duran stepped up to the A strip and had a great day. His energy was picked up by the rest of the squad and they had a nice day. Foil started out slow against Haverford but came on and did a very nice job against Stevens Tech. We have six epee fencers that on any given day can start for us and they all did well. My job will be to put them in against opponents that give them the best chance for success. This is a nice problem to have."
"I was very pleased about the strong contributions that our freshmen made. Duran, Richard and Turner were very sharp today. We made some nice progress since the Big One Tournament last weekend. I hope to make added progress as we prepare for the first league slate at Brown".
The Pioneers are back in action next Saturday, November 16th at the first Northeast Fencing Conference date of the season. Their opponents will include perennial contenders Brown, MIT and Brandeis. Fencing begins at 10 AM.