Senior Michael Pearce roars in exultation. His quest is finished, his goal is reached, his quest fulfilled. After scoring the final touch of the first bout against Washington on Tuesday, March 8, he is content.
Washington put their strongest (competitor) in the first bout against me, thinking that they would get the jump on us since their guy was warm and I wasnt, Pearce said. But their plan backfired. I adapted to the situation and the win gave us momentum.
Although the final score on the mens side was 5-4, Lowell clinched the victory after seven bouts on Pearces third win of the day. Victories from junior Sanjay Sugarek and senior Leonard Harpster added to the effort. Newcomers sophomore Alex Lobascio and junior Michael Hsu fenced the final two bouts, losing both by slim margins.
Coach Kathy Krusen emphasized that this victory represented a change from last year.
In years past, weve lost to Washington because we missed the target and fenced into their strength (the counter-attack), Krusen said. But this year, we fenced both into our strengths (distance-keeping and patience) and we didnt miss.
Krusen lauded Pearce for his success as both a leader and a master competitor.
Michael (Pearce) did his job, Krusen said. He gave us momentum and gave support to the team.
Lowell has finally overcome the ingenious Eagle strategy of counter-attacks that has plagued Lowell fencers for years. Instead of folding to the base tactic, Lowell used it to its advantage by forcing the counter-attack to hit off the target of the torso or by quickly parrying the strike and then riposting.
Fencers also used a brilliant part of Krusens own mode of fencing by exploiting the Washington fencers reliance on a strong line four parry a blocking action that moves the foil across the torso from the back to the chest by attacking the flank, the prime area exposed by the parry.
Distance was also a primary part of Krusens stratagem, as Lowell focused on maintaining tempo and fixing elaborate set-ups for Washington to fall into. Among the tactics they used were parry-ripostes from line six another block that goes across the torso, but from the chest to the back feint-disengage attacks and sudden feints, as well as sudden lunges that kept Washington fencers on edge and made them prime fodder for skewering.
The match was especially tough because of bad blood between the two rival schools. Last year, the Eagles foiled a perfect season for the Cardinals in a razor-thin 5-4 outcome decided upon by the referee. However, this year Lowell was the undisputed winner, bolstered by the sharp reflexes of Pearce, the lashing flick attacks of Sugarek and the strength and range of Harpster.
Washington, formerly alluded to as the perennial rival, still lived up to their fame this year, despite their loss.
Washington is a very good enemy for us, Sugarek said. They have a very competitive spirit that I admire. They are sort of the yin to our yang.
However, the women did not fare as well as the men, as Washington quickly clinched victory in five straight bouts. Juniors Sarina Tu and Andrea Wong and senior Elizabeth Nguyens efforts gained three wins for Lowell, bringing the final score to 6-3.
Nguyen attributed their losses to a lack of planning.
There were a lot of counter-attacks, a move that we arent used to, Nguyen said. Its too bad that we couldnt get our momentum going. We were sloppy.
However, the optimistic Krusen sees improvement in their defeat.
The girls did better this time than in our previous match against Lincoln, Krusen said. We lost 6-3 and we had more touches scored overall. The girls are getting more competitive and fencing better.
Krusen also elaborated on the general success of the match.
There was a lack of tension as there usually is against Washington, she said. We were calm.
Lowells record currently stands at 2-0 for the men and 0-2 for the women. At the previous match against Lincoln on March 1, the men achieved an 8-1 rout of the Mustangs, and the women battled to a valiant defeat, 7-2.
The next match is at 4 p.m. on April 5 against Galileo at Galileo. This match concludes the regular season. The All-City tournament will be held at 9 a.m. on April 16 at Washington High School.