MACFA AvC 2020 Recap

Last weekend, our team kicked off the spring semester with a trip to Johns Hopkins for MACFA AvC.  We faced a full day of competition, with our fencers competing against nine different schools.  Here is how each squad did.


William & Mary Men’s Épée took MACFA by storm with a never-before-assembled roster of Pulak Raj ’20, Greg Quigg ’21, and Simon Yue ’22.  Greg displayed his increased arsenal of attacks and scored points on both the offensive and defensive ends of the strip.  However, in tight bouts, Greg’s stop hits and distance shined as he picked up many touches through manipulating his distance and his opponent’s perceived distance with him.  Simon fenced his first tournament in more than a year and surprised all his opponents with his controlled footwork and timing.  If an opponent dared to aggressively march him down, Simon would punish them immediately by attacking into their advance.  Pulak came into MACFA with low expectations due to his injured ankle, but he was able to take down his opponents with his crushing bladework and disengages.  He was unfortunately forced to medically withdraw towards the end of the day, but his teammates stepped up and nabbed some key wins. Men’s Épée scored multiple victories against every school, including the varsity schools, and is ready to keep up the momentum going into MACFA BvC

This tournament our Women’s Épée squad consisted of two fencers, Riley Aiken ’20 and Gwyneth Smith ’23.  Despite this being her first épée tournament, Riley performed very well, winning a bout against a varsity opponent and gaining points in all of her others through a mix of épée and saber technique.  This was only Gwyneth’s second épée tournament, but she managed to win three bouts, including her final one against a member of Drew’s varsity team.  Even though it was an unconventional squad, the two formed a good team and found it to be a successful tournament for Women’s Épée!


Men’s Foil, consisting of Matt Cusick ’20, Stuart Thomas ’21, and Faisal Al-Alami ’20, had an incredible performance at MACFA AvC.  Overall, Men’s Foil finished 6-1, triumphing over Cornell, Rowan, TCNJ, Rutgers, Lafayette, and Maryland.  Impressively, all three fencers won against members of varsity teams.  This result marks a significant improvement since the MACFA C round robin of last semester.  Men’s Foil will head into MACFA Champs with renewed confidence.

Women’s Foil had a great weekend at Johns Hopkins!  Senior Elizabeth Sutterlin ’20 was joined at her final MACFA meet by juniors Jennifer Chen ’21 and Julianne Cook ’21. The squad faced some of its most difficult schools in the morning but rallied their spirits and went undefeated in the afternoon.

Elizabeth started the day with a morning bagel over one of Lafayette’s fencers, and learned from mistakes in her early bouts to improve her game in the afternoon.  She was happiest with her victory over Rutgers’ A-strip.  She relied on her strong defense and effective bladework to win against a difficult opponent.  Julianne picked up some crucial wins against varsity opponents. Her parry-ripostes caught her opponents off guard and she had a great bout against a Rutgers fencer.  Jennifer was the star of the day, expertly controlling the pace of each of her bouts while her opponents struggled to keep up.  She made it clear she was a threat to the competition as she racked up wins over both Navy and Drew’s A-strips. (Having spectator support certainly may have helped!)

The ladies finished the day with a spectacular win over Drew.  Each of the fencers pulled off some key victories, bringing up the bout score until the match came down to the ninth bout.  The pressure didn’t bother Jennifer, who handily ended the day with a 5-0 bout victory.  W&M Women’s Foil was thrilled to earn a match victory over a varsity program and show them what we were capable of.

Special thanks to Seth Daily ’19 for strip coaching and providing advice throughout the day!


Michael Zessin ’23 and Matthew Dreher comprised the men’s saber team.  Michael had a respectable showing in his first MACFA tournament.  Over the course of the day with coaching from alumnus Robert Catlett ’18, MBA ’19, Michael’s fencing improved drastically with him scoring many touches with well-timed counterattacks and decisive actions in the box.  Matthew had finished the day with 7 wins, one being against a varsity fencer from Lafayette.  Though the competition was tough, men’s saber is eager for their next chance to compete.

Women’s Saber was excited to fence so many schools in our first tournament of the semester!  Madeline Myers ’20 used her distance and mental game to go from 1-4 to 5-4 in a bout against Navy.  She also won all three of her bouts against Haverford, a varsity school. Mary McCants ’21 used her off-the-line speed and tricky disengages to fool many opponents, including all three women from Navy.  Clara Magner ’23 continued to show improvement, building on her strong parry ripostes and even getting quick attacks as the day went on.  While Women’s Saber may be done with MACFA for the year, we’re still looking forward to the other tournaments the semester will bring!


Thanks to W&M Fencing alumni Robert Catlett, Seth Daily, and Will Bushman for coming to support our team!  Our team will be back in action on Sunday February 16, when our men’s squads head to NJIT for MACFA BvC.


Victories over Varsity Fencers (a full list of victories since 2012 can be found here)

  • MS: Matthew Dreher ’20
  • MF: Matt Cusick ’20, Faisal Al-Alami ’20, Stuart Thomas ’21
  • ME: Pulak Raj ’20, Greg Quigg ’21, Simon Yue ’22
  • WS: Madeline Myers ’20, Mary McCants ’21
  • WF: Elizabeth Sutterlin ’20, Jennifer Chen ’21, Julianne Cook ’21
  • WE: Riley Aiken ’20, Gwyneth Smith ’23