The Jumbos traveled to Fairleigh Dickinson University to compete in the Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) Invitational on Sunday, Feb. 24, matching up against seven other schools: Stevens Institute of Technology, FDU, Drew University, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Long Island University Post (LIU Post), The City College of New York (CCNY) and Wagner College. The Jumbos fared well with three wins over FDU (14–12), CCNY (20–7) and LIU Post (19–8). The Tufts team lost to Stevens (22–5), Drew (20–7), NJIT (20–7) and Wagner (19–8).
“This invitational was one of our last of the season,” first-year Dorothy Waskow said. “We practice all season for these moments and it’s cool to see the things we work on in practice come into fruition. Even having to forfeit a lot of bouts with two girls injured and two on-and-off the whole day battling illness, we still had so much team camaraderie and were never disheartened.”
Tufts had a difficult time in their first match against Stevens. Junior Elliot Pavlovich and sophomore Subin Jeong managed to claim three bouts in sabre to Stevens’ six. With one player out and three forfeited bouts, the foil squad struggled to make up points, though senior co-captain Zoe Howard struck once. The Jumbos again had to forfeit another three points in épée with a second player down, losing 8–1 in epee and 22–5 overall.
The Jumbos picked themselves back up after the first knock and defeated FDU 14–12 in a back-and-forth battle. Both teams had one player down in épée and the score ended in a 4–4 tie. Moving into sabre, FDU forfeited three points and both Pavlovich and Jeong won all three of their matches, pushing Tufts ahead. In foil, Howard was left to fend for herself with two players down and still swept all three of her matches to bring Tufts to the finish line.
Tufts struggled through the following two match-ups against Drew and NJIT, losing to both teams 20–7. However, there were a few momentous highlights for the Jumbos. First-year Hannah Fruitman swept in épée against Drew and had two bouts against NJIT while Howard claimed two bouts on her lonesome against NJIT. In the end, both Drew and NJIT proved to be fierce competitors.
Tufts made a comeback in their fifth match-up against CCNY, turning their previous scores around and winning 20–7. Howard and first-year Alison Cheng swept all three of their matches in foil, winning 6–3 despite playing a man down and forfeiting three bouts. Similarly, Fruitman and first-year Caroline Hayes came away with the épée win as Fruitman swept all three matches again and Hayes took two. In sabre, Jeong, sophomore Lillie Ahearn and Waskow won every match, sweeping 9–0 to bring home Tufts’ second win.
The Jumbos’ momentum carried into their next match-up against LIU Post. Howard and Cheng swept in foil, Fruitman mimicked in épée, and LIU Post forfeited the sabre match, bringing Tufts to a 19–8 victory, their third win of the invitational.
“Our greatest strengths have been team spirit, but also individual performances from Zoe Howard, Alison Cheng and Hannah Fruitman,” coach David Sach said. “They have all finished the season with good win percentages against varsity teams. Zoe especially fenced very well at FDU in the absence of her teammates who were feeling sick and couldn’t compete until after lunch.”
Although Tufts ended the day with a 19–8 loss to Wagner, they were very happy with their performance at this FDU Invitational.
“As a team, our weakness has been our inability to keep the full team healthy, so we are often competing under-strength,” Sach said. “Although we’ve been hit by injuries all season, the spirit of the team has been excellent. Even when we have not been fielding full teams due to injuries and illness, we have still managed to win matches.”
The Jumbos will play one last time in their 2018–19 season on Sunday, March 10, in the NCAA Regionals at Vassar College.