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Duke fencing men and women go 3-8 combined at Penn State Duals in first NCAA meet

<p>The Blue Devils will look to bounce back after struggling in their first competition of the year.&nbsp;</p>

The Blue Devils will look to bounce back after struggling in their first competition of the year. 

Although the Blue Devil men and women combined to go 3-8 in their regular-season opener, strong freshmen performances give the team something to build on moving forward.

Duke opened its spring slate at the Penn State Duals Sunday in State College, Pa., with the men finishing with a 1-4 record and the women going 2-4. The Blue Devil men dominated Haverford but fell in close matchups against Columbia, Pennsylvania, Penn State and Yale. The Duke women were able to knock off both Haverford and Yale, but fell to Columbia, Pennsylvania, Penn State and Temple. 

“As our first dual meet of the season, today’s competition was a learning experience for this new team to fence together,” Blue Devil head coach Alex Beguinet told “We fenced against very strong teams and our fencers did a great job.”

After a strong fall in the North American Cups, freshman Eoin Gronningsater was the top male fencer for Duke once again Sunday with a 10-4 record in foil competition. Junior Pascual Di Tella led the Duke saberists with a 10-5 record, and right behind him was rookie Duncan De Caire, who posted a 9-6 record in his first collegiate competition. 

The trio helped the Blue Devils dispatch Haverford 21-6 and had Duke in position to win against Columbia before falling 14-13. The Blue Devils' margins against Pennsylvania (15-12), Penn State (17-10) and Yale (15-12) were also relatively close, but showed the progress Duke needs to make in the future. 

Sophomore Bryn Hammarberg (8-5) ended the day as the only Blue Devil epeeist with a winning record as fellow epeeists Connor Ghazaleh (3-6), Aidan McGinnis (3-8), and Dakota Nollner (2-10) all struggled.

The men's saber and foil squads each had three of its four members post a winning record. Junior Jan Maceczek (7-4) and freshman Jonathan Schwartzman (5-3) joined Gronningsater in the foil competition. Sophomore foilist Will Feldman failed to break .500 after a 3-9 outing Sunday. Junior saberist Peter Yang (6-5) joined De Caire and Di Tella with a decent outing, and freshman Agoston Walker finished the day 2-2 in his first collegiate dual meet.

“We had a very good performance against Columbia,” Beguinet said. “For the freshmen, Lindsay Sapienza had a very good result, as did Eoin Gronningsater.”

Like Gronningsater, Sapienza continued her stellar freshman campaign at Penn State to highlight the day for the women's squad. The rookie saberist led all Blue Devils with 12 victories on the day. Junior saberist Haley Fisher had a solid 10-8 outing and returning ACC champion Jennifer Ling posted a 7-11 record Sunday in saber competition.

Duke dominated Haverford 27-0 and narrowly knocked off Yale 14-13, but the final margins were not close against Columbia (20-7), Pennsylvania (20-7), Penn State (20-7) and Temple (16-11). 

Rookie Zuzu Tang led the Blue Devil foilists with her 10-7 ledger. Sophomore Kristen Coury and senior Julia Lee both ended the day 8-6 and Rhiannon Harvey struggled through a 3-6 outing in foil play. The women's epeeists all struggled, and sophomores Vivian Wang and Claudia Wrampelmeier both had at least 12 losses. Junior Sophie Caplin and freshman Kendyl Bree had just three victories each in the Blue Devils first NCAA meet of the season.

Following a tough outing, the Blue Devils will head back to Pennsylvania looking to rebound at the Philadelphia Invitational Saturday.

Michael Model

Digital Strategy Director for Vol. 115, Michael was previously Sports Editor for Vol. 114 and Assistant Blue Zone Editor for Vol. 113.  Michael is a senior majoring in Statistical Science and is interested in data analytics and using data to make insights.


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