December 3, 2009

Pioneers Defeat North Carolina and Vassar in action at Harvard

Dec. 3, 2009

CAMBRIDGE, MA - The Sacred Heart women's fencing team took a big jump in class on Sunday when they travelled to Harvard to face 2009 NCAA Champions Penn State in addition to Harvard, Princeton, NYU, North Carolina and Vassar (5th, 8th, 15th, 20th and 24th last year at the NCAA Championships).

The women defeated Vassar 17-10 and posted their first ever win over North Carolina in handing the Tarheels a 16-11 loss. In other action the Pioneers lost to Penn State 21-6, Harvard 22-5, Princeton 20-7 and NYU 17-10. The Pioneers end the fall campaign with an impressive 11-7 record. This is the first time that the team has had a winning record at the turn.

The saber squad continued to lead the way and was an overall 33-21 on the day. The senior-freshmen duo of team captain Krista Bacci and Elena Tringa had impressive 13-5 and 12-6 records, and senior Catie Sagevick had a solid 8-7 performance.

The wins against the Brewers and Tarheels came from saber going 9-0 and 7-2 in the matches. Saber also went 5-4 against Penn State and had an impressive 7-2 showing against an NYU squad that includes two fencers who went to the NCAA Championships last season (Alyxandra Mattison and Lisa Verzino).

Epee was led again by the Connecticut duo of Waterford freshman Colleen Mason (8-10) and Bridgeport senior squad captain Ali Roach (7-10). Another Connecticut fencer, Ridgefield freshman Jayme Smith was 7-11 on the day. The saber trio of Bacci, Sagevick and Tringa ended the semester's competition with 28-13, 24-13 and 31-9 records. Mason makes the turn at 31-22 and Smith has a 30 and 17 mark.

The day's victories began with the match with North Carolina. Sacred Heart ended the first round down one at 4-5 and came back to tie the match at 9 all after two rounds. Saber led the way to this point with a 4-2 record. The women took charge in the final stanza as saber swept the Tarheels and both foil and epee went 2-1 to post SHU's first ever win over UNC 16-11. Bacci and Roach led the way with perfect 3-0 records and Sagevick, Tringa, Smith and Perlee came through with two wins each.

"This is a really great win for us," said head coach Dr. Tom Vrabel. "The senior leadership of this team was evident in that last round when we took charge of the match. It sure does'nt hurt to have the Tringa, Smith and Perlee come through the way they did. In my estimation, we keep overachieving. The fight that all of the women show is quite impressive. Win or lose, regardless of the level of the competition, they have the ability to reset and come back out at their best. Having lost three of our top four performers from last year's team, it just makes their success all the more impressive."

The Pioneer's winning ways continued after the lunch break in the match with Vassar. Sacred Heart had a 5-4 lead after one round and stretched the lead to 11-7 after round two on the perfect 6-0 performance by the saber squad. The team closed out the match with a 5-4 performance in the final round to make the final score 17-10. In addition to perfect performances from the saber trio of Bacci, Sagevick and Tringa, Mason in epee and Smith in foil had two victories each.

"This team continues to impress me every time they go out to do battle," said Vrabel. "All of our senior starters fight so hard on every touch. There is just no quit in them. The freshmen have also picked up this attitutude and I expect them to just keep getting better. Elena and Jayme both have infectious competitive fires in them. They are both grinders who simply refuse to lose and never quit, regardless of the score.

"Colleen Mason's transition to epee has been very impressive," he continued. "She has only been seriously training in epee since the summer. Once her game evolves she should be an annual contender for first team all league honors. This team is such a pleasure to coach - this journey is going by far too fast for me."

The Pioneers will resume their season on January 9th at the Philadelphia Invitational at the University of Pennsylvania, where they will take on six teams including perennial powers UPenn, Northwestern, Temple and Duke.