The only team standing between Duke and the ACC championship for the last several years was Notre Dame, and the Blue Devil men finally got over the hump Saturday.
No. 9 Duke won its first ACC championship in program history, upsetting No. 2 Notre Dame 19-8 in Chapel Hill thanks to strong performances in epee and foil. The 10th-ranked Blue Devil women also took down top-ranked Notre Dame 15-12 Sunday, but could not wrap up the title, narrowly falling to unranked North Carolina 14-13 and then losing to the Tar Heels again in a tiebreak.
In the men's team event, the Blue Devils cruised past all three of their opponents, beating North Carolina 19-8 and Boston College 24-3 in addition to the Fighting Irish. Sophomore Jonathan Schwartzman was unbeaten at 8-0 in foil Saturday, junior Bryn Hammarberg was 7-1 in epee and sophomore Agoston Walter was 7-1 in saber to spearhead the dominant performance.
"Last year was very close, but we didn’t get it,” head coach Alex Beguinet told GoDuke.com. “We were so ready this year...so ready. Everyone was wanting this so much. All year, the focus was on winning the ACC title.”
In the individual competition a day later, Hammarberg won the ACC championship in epee, defeating teammate and No. 1 seed Amit Sarma in the semifinals before winning 15-11 against No. 2 seed Ariel Simmons of Notre Dame. Senior Pascual Di Tella came up just short of defending his individual title in saber, losing 15-14 in the finals, and sophomore Eoin Gronningsater also lost in the finals in foil.
The women's team did not have anybody advance to the finals of the individual competition.
Duke's top performers will travel to Easton, Pa., March 10 for the NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regional.
Get The Chronicle straight to your inbox
Signup for our weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.