NEW HAVEN, Conn. - In their first official team competition of the year, the Bulldogs defeated four of five challengers -- BC, Brandeis, Saint John's, and MIT -- losing to UNC -- at the Brandeis Invitational. Senior Walter Musgrave and sophomore Cameron Allen finished the day with impressive 10-2 records.
The morning opened against BC, against whom Yale won 15-12. In saber, first-years Kevin Callahan, Andrew Zhang, and Nicolas Del Vecchio started for the first two rounds before passing the mantle to Musgrave and first-year Elijah Hong. Despite their combined efforts, saber squad narrowly lost 5-4. Squad captain Allen went undefeated, helping foil earn its 6-3 victory. Epeé starters Skyler Chin, Malcolm Miller and first-year Safi Haider claimed all three bouts of the first round, fought a hard second round, and were then buyed by the substitutions of captain Isaac Shelanski and senior Jonathan Xu to finish with a well-earned 5-4 victory.
After a bye in the second round, the Bulldogs faced off against Brandeis. Epeé squad finished with an impressive 9-0 record, the team's only clean sweep of the day for any squad. Starters Chin, Miller and Xu earned swept the first seven bouts before Haider and Shelanski finished the round. In foil, first-year Earnest Chen went undefeated with an outstanding +12 indicator; in other words, Chen lost only three touches the entire round. Starters Allen, Aiden Ahn, and Chen won the first six bouts, with Daniel Flesch and first-year Daniel Li fencing at the end; overall, the squad finished with a near perfect record of 8-1. Similarly to epeé, saber squad shifted their lineup, starting with Musgrave, Callahan and Del Vecchio and later adding in Hong for a victorious 7-2 finish. Overall, Yale walked away with a decisive 24-3 victory, an improvement on their 17-10 victory last year.
At the end of the lunch break, the team edged out a narrow 14-13 victory against Saint John's, avenging last year's 18-9 loss. Foil squad kept a tight lineup, with starters Allen, Ahn, and Chen bringing home a 7-2 victory. In epeé, starters Xu, Miller and Shelanski, with a later addition of Chin, fought hard in several close bouts, several of which were lost 4-5. The squad would win three of their nine bouts. Saber varied their line-up considerably in this round, with Zhang, Del Vecchio, Musgrave, and Callahan fighting out close bouts; overall, the squad finished with a narrow 5-4 loss.
UNC was particularly challenging, and the Bulldogs lost 17-10. Shelanski and Xu won epée squad's two bouts. In foil, starters Chen, Allen and Ahn each brought home a bout. In saber, Callahan and Musgrave each earned two bouts and Hong brought home a fifth, enabling a saber victory. Epeé, foil, and saber squads finished with 2-7, 3-6, and 5-4 bouts respectively.
For the sixth and final round of the day, Yale won against MIT 20-7, an improvement on last year's already impressive 18-9 victory. Foil narrowly lost 5-4. The saber and epeé squads both finished with outstanding 8-1 finishes.
The excellent results for a hard-earned day count towards both Yale's team record and individual fencers' NCAA results. For the second year in a row, the men's fencing team defeated four of its five challengers for a strong start to the season.
report by Jacqueline Hayre-Pérez '21, Yale Sports Publicity