STANFORD, Calif. – The Stanford men’s fencing team went undefeated in dual matches at the Western Invitational on Saturday while the women’s team won four of its five contests.
The men’s team ended up 4-0 after the first weekend of the season with victories over Cal Tech (25-2), Florida (22-5), UC San Diego (18-9) and Air Force (21-6). Not only did the team win all four contests, each weapon group went undefeated at 4-0 as well. Of the three weapon groups the epee looked the strongest, winning 30 of its 36 matches. The foil, despite missing one of the top fencers in the nation in senior Turner Caldwell, put together a 29-7 record. The sabre group was 27-9 on the day.
Leading the way individually for the Cardinal were junior Paul Riviere and sophomore Alex Massialas. Both fencers went undefeated on the day. Riviere posted a perfect 12-0 record in the epee while Massialas, the reigning NCAA National Champion in the foil, recorded a mark of 9-0.
“We fenced really well,” said junior Paul Riviere. “It was a wonderful way to start the season. These are the guys that we are going to have to go against to go to Nationals. These are guys we lost to last year so knowing that we all can consistently beat those opponents gives us confidence going forward.”
Freshman Ben Riviere, the younger brother of Paul, had an outstanding start to his collegiate career. He was undefeated until his last match of the day, finishing with an 11-1 record. Sophomore David Beam was also impressive for the sabre team, notching 10 wins in his 12 bouts.
The women’s team improved to 4-2 in dual matches this season after going 4-1 on Saturday. They started off with a tough 19-8 loss to Northwestern, but came back strong to rattle off victories over Cal Tech (22-5), Florida (23-4), UC San Diego (17-10) and Air Force (15-12). Despite the team’s loss to Northwestern, the epee weapon group went through the day undefeated. They edged Northwestern, 5-4, and swept three other opponents 9-0. The epee finished the day with a 39-6 record.
“I think the freshmen were a little nervous coming into the weekend, but after they fenced against Northwestern last night they came back today and fenced much better,” said sophomore Avery Youngblood. “Our only loss was to Northwestern so we are confident that we will have a great outlook going against the same competition at NCAA Regionals this year.”
Francesca Bassa and Vivian Kong were each very impressive for the Cardinal in leading the epee squad. They each went 14-1 on the day. Bassa’s only loss came on a coin flip after time expired with the bout tied 4-4. Kong lost her second match of the day but won 13 straight after that. Freshmen Eliza Klyce and Alexa Rohan each rebounded from a tough set of matches versus Northwestern. Klyce won 10 of her next 12 while Rohan went 9-1 the rest of the way.
“I thought we did really well, especially after coming back from break and not having much time to fence together,” said Youngblood. “We came together as a team this weekend and fenced well.”
Stanford will be off from competition the remainder of the month. Their next set of matches will be at the Northwestern Duals in Evanston, Ill. February 1-2.