The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Fencing team lunges towards victory at home tournament

Seniors Amanda Manubag and Abby Schlotterbeck were honored during the home fencing tournament. (Photo by Hannah Ally for GoLeopards)

The fencing team hosted its home tournament on Sunday in Kamine Gym. The men’s team won three out of four matches, while the women dropped their sole match against Rutgers University 13-12. 

The team held a ceremony for its two seniors, saber Amanda Manubag and foil Abby Schlotterbeck, during the tournament. 

Manubag, who is one of the team’s four captains, said that she is proud of how the men’s sabers have grown throughout the season, even though they struggled on Sunday — their only winning record came against Rowan University. 

“Especially with the men’s sabers, even if they didn’t get wins, I was able to see their improvement over time,” Manubag said. “I could see how they’re actually implementing what coach [Dayn DeRose] and I tried to teach them, and even if it doesn’t work, they try to figure out a way to fine-tune their own technique.” 

Manubag went 2-0 while Schlotterbeck and junior foil Anna Silver both went 3-0 against Rutgers.

This was Schlotterbeck’s first tournament back from a concussion, which she said allowed her to ease back into competition.

“I was kind of just testing the waters and it was a good meet to do that because I didn’t have to work super hard and it wasn’t very high stakes,” Schlotterbeck said.

On the men’s side, sophomore epee Tyler Morse went undefeated through 10 bouts. The men pulled out wins against Cornell University (14-13), Rutgers (15-12) and Rowan (23-2) but fell to Drew University (15-11).

With tournaments lasting several hours, Morse said he stays focused by listening to music between bouts.

“After every bout, I put my earbuds in and just try to tune everything out and focus on the next match,” Morse said. “We fence three on three so I can watch the next people that I’m going to be up against.”

Manubag and Morse noted that the NCAA changed the quota for qualifying for Regionals, which they hope will allow more Leopards to compete this year. According to Manubag, fencers need to win at least 21 bouts and have a 25 percent win record for the season to qualify.

Fencing programs are relatively rare nationwide, with only 35 men’s teams and 44 women’s teams across all three divisions. This means that fencers see a lot of repeated opponents during competitions throughout the season. 

“It almost humanizes your opponents, which is really interesting about fencing,” Schlotterbeck said. “It’s nice to go to fencing competitions and always have a familiar face. My best friend is in college fencing … and we see each other in all of our meets, and it’s really nice to go and chat and talk and cheer each other on.”

Morse added that facing other fencers multiple times in a season helps him prepare for bouts.

“I know how the people fence so I can build a strategy for them,” Morse said. 

Manubag said that she is proud of how her mindset has shifted during her fencing career at Lafayette. 

“Starting college fencing, or even competitive fencing in general, I was really hard on myself,” Manubag said. “Fencing-wise, I just feel like I became more confident … Starting as a freshman, I always had that ‘you have to be a winner’ mentality. But now it’s just, ‘I’m gonna improve and I’m gonna find my own style of fencing. I’m gonna have fun.’ If I happen to win that’s pretty awesome and that means I’m improving.” 

The team is reaching its final stretch with only two tournaments remaining before Regionals for the men and only one remaining for the women. Manubag emphasized that her role as captain goes beyond just keeping the sabers motivated on the strip. 

“I want to push them, but I want to remind them that they’re so much more than their results, as fencers, as people,” she said.

The team will head to Long Island University on Sunday for the LIU Invitational.

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Grace Sanborn, Assistant Sports Editor
Thinks hitting a ball with a stick outside for four hours is fun.

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