Pioneers defeat Columbia 15-12 on Friday Night, Place Third at NEIFC Tournament

NEW YORK – The Sacred Heart men's fencing team had a strong weekend, defeating Columbia 15-12 Friday night and having two squads finish second at the 2014 New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Championship Tournament.

The Pioneers travelled to Manhattan on Friday night and scored an impressive win over Ivy League Champion Columbia 15-12.  The team was led on the evening by a 7-2 performance from foil and a 6-3 record from epee.  Jonathan Jacovino was 3-0 in epee and Joe Faicco was 2-0 in foil.  Devon Clark, James Turner and Tommy Gerrity also posted two wins apiece in the effort. 

"This was probably the best win we have had this season," said head coach Dr. Thomas Vrabel.  "While Columbia did not fence several starters, they still fielded eight A-rated fencers against us and I think that they were a bit surprised at how well we fenced. Foil and epee were especially sharp in this meet and I was especially pleased with the performances of James Turner and Joseph Faicco.  Our foil squad is finally finding an identity and is stepping up to execute the actions needed to win against top squads like Columbia.  James Turner has been a big part of foil's emergence.  He has become a great B strip fencer to compliment Andrew Holmes and his self-confidence on the strip is a big factor in his success. Jon Jacovino was really on tonight and controlled the bouts that he was in."

After a short turnaround, Sacred Heart travelled to Mount Holyoke College for the 2014 New England Intercollegiate Fencing Conference Championship Tournament on Saturday. The foil and epee squads placed second and the saber squad fourth in their respective competitions, giving the Pioneers a third place overall result.  Six Pioneers qualified for the individual competitions with all three foilists (Andrew Holmes, James Turner and Joseph Faicco), two epeeists (Jon Jacovino and Khris White) and saberist Schuyler Milone moving to the 12 fencers per weapon that would compete for the NEIFC titles. 

Holmes, Faicco, Jacovino and Milone advanced to the medal round.  The foil competition finished with Holmes and Faicco being two of the three fencers tied for first.  In the three way barrage that followed, Andrew Holmes emerged as the champion with Faicco finishing third.  Jon Jacovino was the silver medalist in epee and Sky Milone finished in sixth in saber.

"I was concerned about the impact of the short turnaround following the late night match at Columbia the night before and fatigue was evident in several of our performances today", said Vrabel.  "Thomas Gerrity and the epee squad were really out of gas today but I am proud of how hard they fought.  The performances from Holmes, Jacovino and Faicco were especially satisfying.  Our foil squad only has Andrew Holmes that returned as a full time starter from last season and we have been looking for the combination that best compliments Andrew all year.  It looks like with Turner in the B strip and Faicco in the C slot we have come up with the winning combinaiton"

The Pioneers are back in action on March 9th at Wellesley College for the Regional round of NCAA Championship.  Sacred Heart has qualified the maximum 10 fencers for the competition and will be represented by Andrew Holmes, James Turner, Joseph Faicco, and Alexander Harwood in foil,  Jonathan Jacovino, Devon Clark, Khristopher White and Kevin Almerini in epee and Tommy Gerrity and Schuyler Milone in saber.