No. 7 Women’s Fencing Looks to Continue Undefeated Start at St. John’s Invitational

No. 7 Women’s Fencing Looks to Continue Undefeated Start at St. John’s Invitational

Itzkowitz, Väggö remain unbeaten in 2014-15 (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In its first tournament of the new year, Harvard women's fencing travels to New York for the St. John's Invitational on January 24. Harvard will compete against Columbia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and the host Red Storm.

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Season Preview

Last Time Out

Harvard moved to 6-0 on the season after going undefeated at the Tradition Tournament in Fairfield, Connecticut. The Crimson defeated Penn State (21-6), Vassar (24-3), Sacred Heart (23-4), Temple (17-10) and NYU (24-3). Sabre fencer Aliya Itzkowitz and epeeist Emma Väggö went a perfect 15-0, and the sabre squad was unbeaten as a group in each of the contests.

Scouting Columbia
Columbia (7-1) will face off against the Crimson for the first time this season. The Lions have compiled wins against Fairleigh Dickinson, NJIT, Florida, North Carolina, Penn, Haverford, and Temple.  Harvard went 1-1 against Columbia last season, winning in the most recent bout 14-13.

Scouting Notre Dame
Notre Dame (5-0) was ranked No. 1 in CollegegFencing360's first poll of 2015, and has victories over Penn, North Carolina, Princeton, Penn State and Ohio State to this point. The Crimson won last season's matchup, 16-11, which was the first win over the Irish in program-history.

Scouting Ohio State
Ohio State (10-3) went undefeated at the OSU duals back in October and 2-3 in its most recent tournament. At home in November, the Buckeyes recorded victories over North Carolina and Princeton. Harvard is 1-5 against Ohio State all-time.

Scouting Penn State
Penn State (10-2) will face off against the Crimson for the second time this season after also meeting in the Tradition Tournament, hosted by Sacred Heart. Harvard came away with a 21-6 victory in that bout, though the Nittany Lions would defeat each of the other teams in the field to go 3-1.

Scouting St. John's
St. John's (6-0) has only attended the Brandeis Invitational, where it defeated each team it faced. The Red Storm triumphed over MIT, Boston College, Cornell, Brandeis, Yale and Brown. Harvard is 4-7 all-time against St. John's.

NCAA Champion
Sophomore Adrienne Jarocki returns to the Crimson lineup after winning the NCAA Championship in the sabre division as a freshman. Jarocki defeated her teammate, junior Aliya Itzkowitz, in an all-Crimson final.

Seniors Isabel DiTella and Emma Väggö placed sixth and ninth, respectively, in the NCAA epee championship a year ago and Alexandra Kiefer '14 posted a top-five finish in the foil bracket. All five of the Crimson student-athletes who placed in the top-10 earned All-American status.

Leading the Way
Head coach Peter Brand enters his 16th season at the helm for the Crimson, posting a winning record in every season under his watch. Harvard has won three Ivy League Championships during his tenure, while also winning the 2006 National Championship. Brand owns a 200-62 record on the women's side and has coached a combined 47 All-Americans at Harvard.

Fresh Faces
Harvard has added four freshmen from around the country for the 2014-15 season. MacKenzie Lawrence and Hellary Zhang join the Crimson's foil squad, while Claire Dinhut and Julie Park will compete wielding the epee.

Aye Aye, Captain
Kara Lee '15 and Aliya Itzkowitz '16 were named the captains for the 2014-15 campaign, marking the 19th time in program history that the Crimson has had two captains. Lee is the 13th Harvard fencer to be a captain for two seasons.

Last Season
Harvard women's fencing posted a 16-4 record during 2013-14, including a 5-1 record in conference play. The team ended the season by sweeping the opposition at the Beanpot and taking fifth as a team at the NCAA Championships in March.

Harvard returns seven letterwinners from last year's squad: seniors Kara Lee and Emma Väggö; juniors Isabel DiTella and Aliya Itzkowitz; and sophomores Adrienne Jarocki, Hali Nelson and Liana Yamin.

Coming Up
Harvard competes next at the Ivy League Round Robins from February 8-9. The Crimson went 5-1 at last year's tournament.