Fencing swings for the fences, goes 4–2 in Carzo Cage

Senior épéeist Annie Alaya lunges at an opponent at the Northeast Fencing Conference multi-meet hosted by Boston College on Jan. 28, 2018. Eddie Samuels /The Tufts Daily Archives

In their first home event this season, the Jumbos competed in the Carzo Cage for their second Northeast Fencing Conference Multi-Meet on Saturday. Tufts faced off against Wellesley, Smith College, UMass Amherst, Sacred Heart, University of New Hampshire and Boston University (BU). The Jumbos fared very well with four wins and two losses, improving from their previous multi-meet.

The Jumbos struggled to start the day with a 198  loss to Wellesley. Tufts claimed the foil in a 5–4 win, with two wins apiece from senior co-captain Zoe Howard and first-year Allison Cheng. They did not fare as well in épée and sabre, losing 7–2 and 8–1, respectively.

“Wellesley is always a big meet and one that we know we have to prepare for,” Georgia Kollias, a sophomore, said. “We’re pretty evenly matched and it’s always a fun one to see how well we do.”

Despite the slow start, the Jumbos picked themselves right back up and went on a four-match winning streak. Tufts crushed their second opponent, Smith College, in a 21–6 performance, with two shutouts in foil and sabre. All three foilists, Howard, Cheng and Kollias, went undefeated alongside junior Elliot Pavlovich, sophomore Subin Jeong and sophomore Lillie Ahearn for sabre.

“I felt that I personally fenced so much better than I did at our last multi-set and I’m really happy about that,” Kollias said. “I was thinking more and being more tactical. It was really nice to practice new moves and have a success rate with them.”

The Jumbos’ next matchup against the UMass Minutemen was more of a nail-biter. Tufts came out strong in foil, winning six bouts to UMass’s three, with a shutout from Cheng. However, with two épéeists out injured and the forfeit of six bouts, first-year Hannah Fruitman was left to fend for herself in épée, winning one bout to UMass’s eight. Although they fell to UMass’s swords in épée, the Jumbos made up for it with a 7–2 comeback win in the sabre category. Jeong second undefeated effort led the Jumbos to a close 14–13 victory.

“It’s so cool to see Subin succeed after walking onto the team as a sophomore,” said Pavlovich. “She knocked off one of the ref’s iced coffees from the table at one point too, which made everyone laugh during a stressful day.”

Tufts had a similar outcome facing their fourth opponent, Sacred Heart, dueling their way to a 15–12 victory; the team came up strong in foil and sabre, but did not succeed in épée due to three forfeited bouts. Cheng and Howard continued their hot streaks with two more shutouts in foil, followed by two wins a piece in sabre from Pavlovich, Jeong and Ahearn.

In another crushing display of strength, Tufts beat New Hampshire by a larger margin of 19–8, including a second shutout of the day in foil by Howard, Cheng and Kollias. Despite playing on her lonesome, Fruitman came up with three bouts to New Hampshire’s six, an improvement from her previous play. To finish the match, New Hampshire fell to Tufts’ swords with a score of 7–2 and two shutouts from Pavlovich and Ahearn.

Tufts  ended their day with a tough battle against BU. Tufts’ proven strongest asset of the multi-meet was their foil squad, who again went undefeated against BU to start the match off with promise. However, épée continued to suffer due to six forfeited bouts, resulting in a final loss of 8–1. The Jumbos’ sabre squad was unable to get even a single bout from their match with the Terriers, who soared through their bouts with a 9–0 win.

“Although we were consistently down one or two players for épée and had to forfeit points, it was pretty cool that we still did very well in general,” said Pavlovich. “We didn’t have any subs, either. We were on a high from our successes and it was great to see everyone in good spirits.”

The Jumbos fence next on Saturday, March 2 in the NEIFC Championships at Wellesley.