PHILADELPHIA, Penn. – On the second day of the Philadelphia Invitational, the Bulldogs went 4-1 against challenging opponents. Because of the weather, several scheduled opponents were not able to attend, so the Elis has to adapt to different schools' strategies and styles in order to be victorious.
They began the day facing Notre Dame. In the CollegeFencing360 Coaches Poll, Notre Dame was voted best in the nation. Despite the fact that they were facing a formidable opponent, the Bulldogs were able to put up a respectable fight, falling to the Irish with a score of 17-10. The saber squad did especially well, winning the majority of their bouts.
Next, Yale went up against Ohio State University. While the Buckeyes are known for their strong fencing program, the Bulldogs won 17-10. Earnest Chen, Malcolm Miller and Walter Musgrave all went undefeated. It was an exciting victory for Yale and gave them momentum for the rest of the day.
After lunch, the Bulldogs had a rematch against New York University, a team which beat them by a single bout just the day before. Yale fenced hard, determined to prevail this time. As the closely matched teams fought for victory, every bout counted. It fell to the epee squad to bring them home. With the score tied at 13-13, the Bulldogs put Safi Haider in, confident that he had the necessary mental toughness to handle such a narrow rematch. With Haider down 4-3 and only two seconds remaining, it looked like Yale was going to fall for a second time to NYU, but with a quick attack, Haider pulled the scores back to even. While his opponent got priority, Haider remained calm and scored the final touch, bringing the team to victory. His teammates leapt from their chairs and surrounded him, cheering for the hard-fought win.
To close out the day, Yale faced the hosting team, University of Pennsylvania. Last year, UPenn tied with Harvard and Columbia for the Ivy League Championship, so the Bulldogs were excited to be able to prove themselves. It was a close match-up, with neither school able to gain a strong edge over the other as they traded bout after bout. Earnest Chen and Andrew Zhang both went undefeated. With only two bouts to go, Yale was down 12-13. In order for the team to have a chance at victory, Kevin Callahan needed to win his last bout. It was a tight match, but Callahan managed a 5-4 win, keeping the Bulldogs in it. As he went into the final bout with the schools tied, Walter Musgrave didn't let the pressure get to him. Fencing confidently and cleanly, with his teammates' cheering him on, Musgrave clinched Yale's victory with an impressive 5-2 win. A roar came from the Bulldogs' side of the strip.
Captain Isaac Shelanski was happy with the Bulldogs' performance, "The team was incredible today. The whole team showed incredible mental toughness, coming back from a disappointing loss to NYU on Saturday and a tough loss to no. 1 Notre Dame to start Sunday morning to beat Ohio State, avenge our loss to NYU, and beat Ivy rival UPenn. I was very proud of how we finished."