Irish remain undefeated with Walton's lead
By MIKE CONNOLLY
The long-delayed debut of sophomore epeeist Kerry Walton highlighted an undefeated weekend by the women's fencing team at the Northwestern Invitational.
Walton, the top recruit in the class of 2004, was ruled academically ineligible last season and did not fence for the Irish. In her first meet with the Irish, she showed why she is the No. 1-ranked junior women's epeeist in the country, as she won all 11 of her bouts.
"It was a long wait but it was definitely worth it," she said.
Walton's 11 wins led the epee squad, which tallied 29 teams wins against Temple, Fairleigh Dickinson and Johns Hopkins. Junior epee captain Anna Carnick was right behind Walton with 10 wins and one loss, while All-American Meagan Call started the season with a 7-4 record.
The women's foil and sabre squads also swept Temple, FDU and Johns Hopkins. The foil squad had the best weekend of any Irish weapon as they won 30 bouts — even without their top two fencers.
Freshman foilists Alicjia Kryczalo and Andrea Ament did not fence in the meet because of a conflict with a senior World Cup event in Hungary. Junior Liza Boutsikaris and sophomore Maggie Jordan stepped up in the absence of the two top recruits. Boutsikaris appeared to put a rough 2001 season behind her, as she opened the season with 12 wins and no losses.
Jordan also went undefeated with 11 wins despite switching from sabre to foil to fill in for the loss of the two freshmen. Last year Jordan fenced foil for the Irish and qualified for the NCAA Championship but switched back to sabre this year.
Although she is considered a better sabre fencer than a foil fencer, she was flawless at her old weapon.
"I didn't really know how read she was going to be," Boutsikaris said. "She did just as good as she did last year. I was pleased with that."
Sophomore Destanie Milo opened the season undefeated at sabre for the Irish with a 10-0 record.
"It felt real well. I was surprised to do as well as I did because I didn't practice as much as I should have over break," Milo said. "There was a little rust but there was a lot of things I didn't forget."
Although the Irish said they were pleased with the three wins, they know tougher bouts lie ahead.
"The first tournament wasn't the hardest tournament we had. It was probably one of our easier ones," Walton said. "It's more of a warm up."
The Irish return to action Jan. 27 at New York University against top competition including defending national champion St. John's. The men's team will open its 2002 season at the NYU meet as well.
All Sports Stories for Thursday, January 17, 2002