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Ivy Round-Robins Ahead for No. 3 Women’s Fencing

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The Crimson looks for its fourth Ancient Eight crown (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 3 Harvard women's fencing travels to Providence, R.I., for the Ivy League Round-Robins this weekend. The Crimson looks to capture its fourth Ancient Eight crown at Brown's Olney-Marglies Athletic Center.

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Last Time Out
Harvard opened the 2014 calendar year with a 2-3 showing at the St. John's Invitational at the Taffner Field House Sunday, Jan. 26.

The Crimson stormed out of the gates defeating No. 4 Penn State, 15-12. Harvard fell to No. 6 Columbia, 15-12, but rallied in round three to down third-ranked Notre Dame, 16-11. The two victories were followed by two tightly contested matches to No. 5 Ohio State, and No. 10 St. John's, which Harvard dropped 14-13.

The sabre squad's 33-12 mark propelled Harvard's efforts. Freshman Adrienne Jarocki paced all Harvard fencers, as the sabre fencer finished the day with a 13-2 record. Senior Alexandra Kiefer and junior Nina van Loon led the foil and epee fencers with a 9-6 performance each.

Related Link: No. 2 Women's Fencing Earns Two Wins at St. John's Invitational

Rank and File
In the initial CollegeFencing360.com Fencing Coaches Poll, the Crimson women rank second, the highest seeding of the squad in program history. Harvard has since fallen to the third seed in the Feb. 6 poll. Harvard is one-of-four Ancient Eight schools in the top-ten as defending national champion Princeton took the top spot, Columbia ranks fifth and Penn sits seventh.

Related Links: NCAA Fencing Poll | Women's Fencing Earns Program-Best Ranking at No. 2, Men Seeded Fifth

Crimson Crowns
Over the course of 32 seasons, 34 Ancient Eight champions have been crowned with the Crimson earning three titles with its most recent being in 2009.

Unbeaten
Since Harvard women's fencing began in 1975 the Crimson has seen 51 opponents on the strip. Harvard has not dropped a match to 28 of its all-time competitors to hold unbeaten records against 54.9 percent of its all-time foes.

And the Award Goes To
Adrienne Jarocki earned National Rookie of the Week honors presented by CollegeFencing360 Jan. 30, marking the first weekly accolade for the freshman. Jarocki as an intricate part of Harvard's sabre squad that went 33-12 to pace the Crimson's 2-3 performance at the St. John's Invitational Jan. 26.

Related Link: Jarocki Named National Rookie of the Week

Face in the Crowd
Aliya Itzkowitz is one of Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd featured in the December 23 issue. The sophomore sabre fencer earned the honor that has been published in every week of the magazine since 1956, after helping the Crimson to its first 6-0 start under head coach Peter Brand since matching that record to begin the 2010-11 season.

Related Link: Itzkowtiz's Featured in Sports Illustrated Faces in the Crowd

North American Cups
Over the course of three months, 14 Harvard fencers took the strip at USA Fencing's North American Cups to compete against athletes from across the United States and Canada attempting to qualify for both the 2014 Senior and Junior World Championships. The Crimson notched three podium finishes. Jerry Chang and Nina van Loon grabbed gold in the Junior brackets in their respective weapons, while Adrienne Jarocki took home silver in the Division I women's sabre.

Related Links: Ten Harvard Fencers Compete at USA Fencing North American Cup, Chang Captures Gold | Five Fencers Compete at December North American Cup | USA Fencing's January North American Cup Features 11 Crimson Fencers

Trust in Brand
Peter Brand enters his 15th season at the helm of the Crimson. Under his guidance, Harvard captured its first NCAA team championship in 2006, won a combined four Intercollegiate Fencing Association three-weapon titles, two IFA six-weapon championships and a combined seven Ivy League titles – three by the women and four by the men. He also coached 37 All-Americans in his time behind the Harvard bench. Brand sports a 192-61 overall record on the women's side and a 49-31 mark against Ivy League foes.

About No. 3 Harvard
At 8-3, the Crimson is off to its best start under Peter Brand since matching that number to begin the 2010-11 season. To capture its fourth Ivy League title and first in the past six seasons, Harvard will look to senior Alexandra Kiefer to maintain her dominance in the foil. Sophomore Aliya Itzkowitz and freshman Adrienne Jarocki look to continue their successful season in the sabre while Nina van Loon strives to continue to pace the Crimson's epeeist on the strip.  

About Brown
Brown carries a 14-1 record into the round robins with a 24-5 effort from senior epeeist Laney Caldwell. Seniors Kathryn Hawrot (34-4) and Audrey Lee (19-1) pace the Bears' foil fencers. Freshman Clara Tondato Da Ruos' 14-1 mark leads the sabre fencers. .

All-Time Versus the Bears
Harvard has downed the Bears in the last five meetings to hold a commanding, 22-4 advantage in the all-time series that dates back to 1980.

About No. 5 Columbia
The Lions hold a 17-4 overall record. Columbia's victories have been propelled by its foil squad who sits at 22-0.  Sophomore Jackie Dubrovich paces the undefeated foil fencers with 58 victories. Classmate Sarah Yee has notched 32 wins to pace the sabre fencers while freshman Mason Speta leads the Lions' epeeist with a 36-19 mark.  

All-Time Versus the Lions
The 39th installment of the all-time series marks the second meeting between Harvard and Columbia this season. The Crimson looks to snap the Lions nine-match win streak in the series. Columbia holds a 29-8 advantage in the series that dates back to 1980.

About Cornell
The Big Read enter the championship at 14-4 after going 3-2 at the Philadelphia Invitational Jan. 26. Cornell is led by its foil squad that includes senior Christine McIntosh who has tallied the most victories for the Big Red with a 46-4 record. Freshmen Victoria Wines and Anastasia Turin pace the epee and sabre squads, respectively. Wines holds a 20-8 marks while Turin sits at 27-12.

All-Time Versus the Big Red
After falling behind in the series, 0-7, Harvard has gone on to win 23 of the last 25 meetings including 19 straight matches since 1992 to have a 22-9 advantage against its Ivy rival.

About No. 7 Penn
The Quakers enter the tournament coming off a dominate performance over No. 3 Notre Dame at the Northwestern Duals, Feb. 1. The duo of freshman Cassidy Seidl and senior Luona Wang propelled Penn's foil squad which paces the team's 15-5 effort. Freshmen Alejandra Trumble and Shriya Joshia lead the epee and sabre fencers, respectively.

All-Time Versus the Quakers
Despite knocking off Penn in the last four meetings, Harvard trails the all-time series with the Quakers, 12-22.

About No. 1 Princeton
Reigning National and Ivy League Champion, Princeton looks for its fifth straight Ancient Eight title this weekend. The Tigers ride a 41-dual match win streak that dates back to Feb. 2, 2013 and includes a 21-0 mark this season.

All-Time Versus the Tigers
The Harvard, Princeton rivalry is one of the oldest series in program history as the Ancient Eight foes first met in the Crimson's second season in 1976. The Tigers notched the first victory and have gone on to hold a 13-17 advantage.

About Yale
Riding a two-match win streak, Yale enters the championships 5-3.

All-Time Versus the Bulldogs
Harvard looks for its tenth straight victory over Yale. The Ancient Eight opponents have competed against one another 35 times with the Bulldogs boasting a 24-11 edge over the Crimson.

Coming Up
As six-time defending Beanpot champion, Harvard puts its unbeaten Beantown title on the line at MIT Wednesday, Feb. 12.