CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The No. 6 Harvard women's fencing team is set to compete in the Ivy League Championships this weekend, Feb. 10-11, in Princeton, N.J. The tournament will be broadcast live on the Ivy League Network. The Crimson has recorded a 9-4 record so far this season.
Last Time Out
In its last home bout of the season. Harvard (9-4) hosted NYU in dual play. The Crimson posted a dominant 21-6 win over the Violets. Freshman Saanchi Kukadia led Harvard overall with a plus-11 touch differential and a 3-0 record. The epee squad recorded a 9-0 sweep, while foil battled to a 7-2 win. Senior co-captain MacKenzie Lawrence and Liana Henderson-Semel also posted 3-0 shut out victories in their respective weapons.
Freshman epee fencer Cindy Gao tops the Crimson's line up so far this season with a 31-5 record. Overall, the foil squad makes up three of the top five fencers for Harvard with Liana Henderson-Semel leading at 42-13, MacKenzie Lawrence staying steady at 40-16 and Natalie Yang coming in at 36-12. Shawn Wallace and Saanchi Kukadia pace epee fencers, registering 35-16 and 37-14 records, respectively.
Scouting the Ivy League Championships
The Crimson finished fourth at last year's Ivy League Championships, tallying a 3-3 record throughout the tournament. Three current team members were named to the All-Ivy first team including Marta Lasota, Sharon Ra and Natalie Yang. The Crimson posted wins over Brown (16-11), Cornell (17-10) and Yale (19-8), as well as falling to Columbia (11-16), Penn (12-15) and Princeton (10-17).
Harvard finished its 2016-17 campaign with a 14-8 overall record, posting a 3-3 mark against Ivy League competitors. The Crimson sent 11 fencers to the NCAA Championships, including six members of the women's team who finished fifth overall: Gabrielle Tartakovsky, MacKenzie Lawrence, Sharon Ra and Shawn Wallace, along with graduated seniors Adrienne Jarocki and Hali Nelson. Placing fifth overall at the NCAA Championships, Harvard clinched its highest placement since the 2013-14 season.
Senior MacKenzie Lawrence and junior Sharon Ra will serve as captains for the 2017-18 season. Lawrence finished last season with 44 wins and a 21st-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Ra concluded her sophomore season with a total of 63 wins, eight of which were at the NCAA Championships. Both Lawrence and Ra appeared at the Ivy League Championships last year, helping the Crimson earn a fourth-place finish.
At the Helm
Head coach Peter Brand is in the midst of his 19th season as head coach for the Crimson, which has posted a winning record in each of the last 16 seasons under his watch. Harvard has won eight Ivy League Championships during his tenure, while also winning the 2006 National Championship. Brand owns a 250-82 record on the women's side and has coached a combined 47 All-Americans at Harvard.
Harvard will have a quick turn around, heading to Brandeis on Feb. 14 for the Beanpot tournament. The Crimson will face host Brandeis, MIT and Boston College and go for its 11th Beanpot title.