Despite the Duke men’s determination to redeem themselves against No. 1 Penn State at this past weekend’s Temple Duals, it was the women who walked away with the only win.
The Blue Devil women (16-9) took down the No. 5 Nittany Lions in a close call, eking out a 14-13 victory. Although the victory hinged on a single bout, it carried added weight as it came shortly after the Duke team took down Penn State 16-11 at the Duke Home Meet just two weeks earlier. Epee Sarah Collins joined senior captain and fellow epee Emily D’Agostino in completing a perfect 6-0 bout record against the Nittany Lions, while their freshman teammate, Isabella Barna only dropped one bout to the Penn Sate team.
The Penn State win was the only one the Blue Devil men or women earned all weekend. Although the women’s epee squad managed to hold their own, picking up wins against Penn State and No. 9 Temple, both the foil and saber sqauds suffered defeats from both schools as well as from No. 2 Princeton and No. 6 St. John’s.
On the men’s side, despite showing eagerness to notch a win against No. 1 Nittany Lions, who beat the No. 9 Blue Devils (14-8) at their home meet, the Duke team proved unable to turn its goals into reality as it fell to Penn State, No. 3 Princeton and No. 5 St. John’s.
In contrast to the women’s squads, the men’s foil and saber were the only squads that were able to take down any of their opponents. Senior Anthony Lin led the men’s sabers to a 6-3 win against the Tigers while Michael DeVito and Rod Shayesteh combined their efforts to secure a 5-4 win against the Red Storm. DeVito managed to notch a perfect 3-0 bout record during the competition with St. John’s while Shayesteh won two out of his three contests on the strip.
Although Duke headed into the meet after a two-week break from competition, the sickness and school-related stresses of midterm exams seem to have taken a toll on the athletes who were unable close out the regular season with the type of success they were seeking.
In just two weeks, the fencers who were able to qualify for the NCAA Regional Meet will have to try to turn their performances around in hopes of advancing to the NCAA Championships.
“We’re seeing some good work out of the younger members of our team, and teammates have had a great ‘next man up’ approach to injury and sickness this season,” head coach Alex Beguinet said in a press release. “But they’ll need to improve in their execution before they can consistently put together enough collective wins to knock off the top tier opposition. As the dual meet season closes, we’ll be focusing on regrouping and polishing each individual’s game for round one of the NCAA Championships in two weeks.”