COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State men's and women's fencing team returned from the Midwest Fencing Conference (MFC) Championships after earning runner-up finishes in both men's and women's divisions, falling in both to regional rival and host Notre Dame. The overall title was the first for the Irish since 2002, breaking the Buckeyes' seven-year reign at the top of the MFC standings.
The Buckeye men finished with 645 team points, 15 short of Notre Dame's winning total of 660. The two teams finished first and second in each men's event. Both schools dominated the men's categories, with third-place Northwestern finishing 100 points behind the runner-up Buckeyes.
The Scarlet and Gray's only gold in men's categories came in epee, boosted by the top seeding the team earned. The Buckeyes swept through the first three bouts, defeating Minnesota, Purdue and Northwestern 5-0 before facing the Irish in the final match. The squad bested second-seeded Notre Dame in a close, 5-4 match to take the top finish in the category.
The roles were reversed in men's foil as top-seeded Notre Dame met the second seed Buckeyes in the final bout. Ohio State opened the category with a 5-0 win over Lawrence before moving on to a 5-1 victory against Michigan State. The team earned a trip to the final match with a 5-0 shutout of Northwestern. In the final matchup, the Fighting Irish flexed their might on the way to a 5-2 victory over the Scarlet and Gray.
The story was the same in men's sabre. The Buckeyes stormed through matches against Iowa (5-1), Michigan (5-2) and Wayne State (5-3) to meet the Irish in the final. With both teams needing the win to take the overall men's title, Notre Dame once again stopped the Buckeyes in their tracks after a 5-3 Irish victory.
The Ohio State women joined the men in their second-place finish, also falling to Notre Dame by 15 points. The epee squad finished third in the event after beginning with the third seed. The Buckeyes swept Xavier 5-0 and defeated Wayne State 5-2 before falling to runner-up Northwestern in the semifinals.
The lone gold for the women came in the foil division with identical results from the men's epee rounds. The Buckeyes were flawless in victories over Xavier, Illinois and Wayne State before defeating Northwestern by the slightest of margins, 5-4.
The Buckeyes and the Irish faced off in the finals for the fourth and final time in the women's sabre category. The top-seeded Scarlet and Gray squad earned 5-0 victories over Illinois, Michigan and Michigan State before falling to second seed Notre Dame, cementing the women's title for the Irish, their first since 2005.
Ohio State returns to action Saturday and Sunday at the NCAA Midwest Regional Qualifier in Evanston, Ill. The Buckeyes will be aiming to qualify 12 fencers, the maximum number allowed, for the NCAA Championships hosted by Harvard March 25-28.
For more information on the Midwest Conference Championships, visit the fencing page at www.und.com.
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