DURHAM, N.C. – The Duke men's and women's fencing teams open the 2014 season at the Penn State Duals this Sunday, Jan. 12, in University Park, Pa.
The Blue Devils are coming off 2013 season in which the men finished 15-9 and the women went 11-10, while both finished the season ranked in the CollegeFencinge360.com Top 10 National Poll. The Duke women upended No. 5 Penn State twice, while the men toppled No. 2 Notre Dame at the Duke Home Meet.
Leading the Duke men will be senior epee Dylan Nollner, who took fifth place in last year’s NCAA Championship. Nollner went 18-13 in 2013 on the way to earning his third straight berth to the NCAA Championships. He will be joined on the epee squad by veterans Alessio Santoro and Edward Chen, who combined to go 60-25 last season, and sophomore Jake Wiener.
Opposite Nollner on the women’s epee squad will be fellow captain Sarah Collins who went 54-20 as a junior in 2013. Collins, who also qualified for the NCAA Tournament will fence alongside fellow epee Isabella Barna, whose 49-17 record was the fifth best on the entire Duke women’s team last season. Senior Mary Tung and freshman Rita Somogyi round out the rest of the group.
The men’s foils return their top winner from 2013 in Rod Shayesteh, who went 33-27 to lead a group of seven foils. Lining up behind him will be veterans Mike DeVito (22-19) and Chris Sullivan (10-7 in 2013) and freshman Joseph Lam.
The women’s foils also boast plenty of experience with Anisha Mukherjee (31-27 in 2013), Jessica Kang (21-27) and Samantha Lee (29-25) returning to the lineup along with freshman Julia Lee. Mukherjee and Kang are both seniors, while Samantha is in her sophomore season.
Sophomore Charles Copti will anchor the men’s sabers after posting a team-best 45 wins in his first season. Copti went 45-22 in his debut as a Blue Devil and also notched a 12th-place finish at the 2013 Junior Olympics. Flanking him on the saber squad will be Eugene Chung (15-10 in 2013), Brian Cucinelli and Chris Monti.
The women’s sabers will feature senior Kodia Baye-Cigna, who in 2013 paired with now-graduated Sean Cadley to lead the group to a 20-6 record despite those two being the only true sabers on Duke’s roster. Baye-Cigna logged a 54-22 record while Cadley went 67-9. This year, the group returns Libby Malcolm (2-19 in 2013) while welcoming freshman Angelica Hubbard and installing converted foil Tara Mullen-Boustiha.
Following the Penn State Duals, select Duke fencers will compete in the North American Cup on Jan. 18-20 in Virginia Beach, Va. Duke will then return to team competition on Jan. 25-26 at the Philadelphia Invitational.
Penn State Duals
University Park, Pa.
Jan. 12, 2014