Coming off some excellent individual performances at the North America Cup earlier this month, the men’s and women’s fencing squads will take on Tufts, Stevens Tech, and New Jersey Institute of Technology this afternoon in fencing’s only home meet of the season.
Though the Light Blue is expected to defeat all three teams handily, the results of this meet won’t affect the Lions’ standing later in the season. Instead, the team sees the meet as a good opportunity for its younger fencers to become acclimated to the five-touch bout collegiate format—requiring quicker adjustments than the 15-touch bouts that fencers are used to on the national and international stage.
“This meet is a great way for us to look at a lot of our freshmen,” head coach Michael Aufrichtig said. “Last year, our first meet wasn’t until late January. Now, we can let our freshmen fencers experience collegiate fencing very early. We almost look at this like a preseason game.”
The timing of this meet will also provide the Lions ample time to fine-tune their individual and team strategies before the next competition, which isn’t until mid-January.
As a second-year head coach, Aufrichtig has placed an increasing emphasis upon self-reflection, according to senior epeeist Lydia Kopecky.
“Every squad talked with Michael after Virginia Beach to talk about how it went for them and the team as a whole,” Kopecky said. “Having the analytic aspect of fencing helps us realize why we did poorly or well and replicate or stop it in the future.”
Kopecky also said that the meet is a good chance to showcase the team to the Columbia community, and that it should boost the team’s confidence.
The action begins in the University (Blue) Gym at 4 p.m.