Ward Melville extends winning streak to 96 matches
With Ward Melville holding an 11-10 lead over Brentwood, the Patriots' winning streak (at 95 and counting) looked to be in serious jeopardy.
In a rare tight match, the Ward Melville foil squad took over, winning the next three bouts to clinch the match for the Patriots and pushing the winning streak to 96.
Devin Reina, who won the clinching bout, and Mike Antipas, both went 3-0 in foil for the Patriots to lead Ward Melville to a 14-13 win.
The foil team went 7-2 overall and the presence of Antipas and Reina was a comforting one for Ward Melville (2-0) coach Jeff Salmon in an otherwise nerve-racking match.
"Those are my go-to guys," Salmon said. "Devin fenced really well and stayed focused," Salmon said, adding that though Antipas made some mistakes, he did well to overcome them in all of his bouts.
Despite the loss, Brentwood coach Mike Corona was proud of the way his team competed against a team that has won six consecutive Long Island Championships.
"My guys worked really hard . . . and hung with [the Patriots]," Corona said.
Though things got heated at times during the match, Corona was respectful of his opponent.
"They have a lot of talent, you can't take anything away from them," he said.
Both Salmon and Corona said the tight match will help their teams going forward.
Salmon said fencing in a close match like this one will help his team in terms of composure in future close matches.
"We have a lot to work on," Salmon said, speaking about how his team handled the pressure of a close match. "We didn't handle it very well."
Corona said his team is "angry," and will channel that emotion in the coming matches.
Ward Melville foil finished 7-2, and its sabre went 5-4 and epee finished 2-4.
Danny Solomon also went 3-0 in sabre for Ward Melville.
The two teams meet again Saturday at Ward Melville.
Ward Melville girls extend streak to 176
The Ward Melville girls team defeated Brentwood, 21-6, thanks to strong performances from Kacey Charpin, Angela Zhang and Melanie Holl.
Ward Melville coach Azziza Hassan said she was "excited" after the victory, and praised her girls for their strategic approach.
This is Hassan's second victory as coach of the Patriots, taking over for Salmon's wife, Jennifer, who guided Ward Melville to 13 straight Long Island championships.