Joanne Norell | March 26, 2017
The University of Notre Dame fencing program clinched its ninth national title on Sunday, capping four days of dominance at the 2017 National Collegiate Fencing Championships at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis.
The Fighting Irish clinched the championship in the fourth round with a 5-1 win by senior Lee Kiefer over Cornell's Lyubov Kiriakidi on the foil strip.
Kiefer kept the historical moments coming later in the day, taking her fourth foil individual title and becoming just the third collegiate fencer to earn four weapon titles. NYU's Michael Lofton won four sabre titles from 1984 through 1987 and Penn State's Olga Kalinovskaya won four consecutive foil titles from 1993 to 1996.
It is the first national team title for the Irish since 2011, when the Irish tallied 174 points to defeat Penn State (168) and St. John's (155). It is also the first national title as head coach for Gia Kvaratskhelia, who was an assistant coach on Janusz Bednarski's staff during the 2011 title run.
Notre Dame's final total of 186 points are the most for the Irish in a title victory and the most for a winning team since Penn State's 191 total in 2010.
While Kiefer clinched the title in the fourth round of foil on Sunday, sabre was the first weapon to finish up its five preliminary rounds. Junior Francesca Russo put herself in position for a second individual national title by finishing pool play ranked first with a 20-3 record.