If there was ever a time for Angeline Lei to let out a victory scream, it was Saturday morning.
But while the thought may have crossed her mind, the Great Neck South fencer was as cool and calm after her match-clinching third victory of the day as she was after her first two.
Lei’s epee win in the final bout clinched a 14-13 decision for the Rebels over host Garden City in a pivotal Nassau I fencing match. Kimberly Wong also went 3-0 in sabre for Great Neck South (8-1), while teammates Macy Meng (epee) and Ariel Kang (foil) went 2-1, and Mary Ye (sabre) went 2-0.
“I was so happy after the match,” Lei said. “I wanted to scream but I’m really not a screamer.”
Aside from the score, the junior said having to face a strong opponent in Bridget Strysko (2-1 on Saturday) added to the tension. “It can be nerve racking facing someone who’s beaten you in the past. I tried to take deep breaths, calm down and get the surroundings out of my head.”
Wong said it was the “best thing on earth” to watch Lei clinch the bout. “She’s a quiet girl, but she knows so much and she’s worked so hard. I’ve seen her grow since she was a freshman.”
Lei’s clincher was set up by Meng’s win in the match’s penultimate bout, which tied the score at 13. “This was a confidence booster for us,” Meng said of the victory over Garden City (7-3), which has reached the last three county finals, winning in 2013 and 2014.
Said Kang: “This shows we can do it and we have the ability to beat the best teams in the county.”
Tia Petrides went 3-0 in foil for Garden City.
Mahoney leads Garden City boys
On the boys’ strip, Donal Mahoney was almost untouchable . . . literally. Mahoney went 3-0 in sabre, winning 15 of 16 touches, to lead Garden City over Great Neck South 15-12.
“These days are always nice. I knew what I needed to do going in, and it really worked out,” said Mahoney, who added the win was indicative of the progress Garden City (7-1) has made.
“This is definitely a statement win for us,” said James Ostrowski, who went 2-1 in epee.
“They’re traditionally very strong so it’s great to come out here and get the win,” said Cole Sonner, who went 2-1 in foil.
Matt Ko went 3-0 in epee for Great Neck South (6-3).