March 11, 2014

Mattos, Mandel, Berman headed to NCAAs

WALTHAM, Mass. – For the second year in a row, the Brandeis University fencing team will be sending three individuals to the NCAA National Collegiate Fencing Championships. The championships will be held March 20-23 at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

The Judges had three outstanding performances at the NCAA Northeast Regional at Wellesley College on Sunday that will give them two returnees and one newcomer to nationals. Brandeis will have the most Division III fencers at the meet, with NYU and MIT each qualifying two student-athletes.

Leading the way was sophomore Caroline Mattos of Cumberland, R.I., in the women's foil. Seeded 12th, Mattos was one touch short of earning the bronze medal at the regional meet, finishing in fourth place with a 7-4 record and plus-10 touch differential (or indicator) in the final round. She turned in wins over fencers from St. John's, Cornell, Yale and Brown in the final 12 to earn her spot at nationals. Mattos, who was 63-14 in dual matches this season, is making her second trip to the NCAA championships. She will be looking to improve on her 23rd-place finish from 2013. Mattos is the first Brandeis woman to make a return trip to nationals since Caitlin Kozel '08 did so in 2007 and 2008.

Also returning to the NCAAs for the second year in a row is junior Adam Mandel of White Plains, N.Y., a men's sabre fencer. Mandel earned All-American honors as a sophomore with a final-day rally to finish in 12th place at nationals in 2013. At the 2014 Regional, Mandel improved by three spots on his eighth seed to finish in fifth place. His only two losses in the first two elimination rounds came at the hands of the eventual gold medalist, and he went 7-4 in the final round to earn his spot at nationals. Mandel's wins in the final round came against foes from Columbia, Harvard, St. John's and NYU. Mandel had the team's best winning percentage during the regular season, going 58-9 in dual matches. He will attempt to become Brandeis's first multiple All-America in fencing since Olympic silver medalist Tim Morehouse '00.

Joining Mattos and Mandel at OSU will be first-time NCAA qualifier Noah Berman of Palo Alto, Calif. Berman, a men's foil fencer, Berman lived up to his 11th seed entering the Regional with an 11th-place finish. Berman went 7-5 overall in the elimination rounds, advancing to the finals by three touches. Among the round of 12, he picked up wins over opponents from Harvard and Hunter College to finish in 11th. Though the NCAA has nine automatic berths from the Northeast in men's foil, since there is a limit of two fencers per school who can qualify for nationals, two of Harvard's four fencers in the top nine will be alternates, making way for Berman.

Brandeis fencing, under the guidance of head coach Bill Shipman, who is in his 32nd year leading the Judges, have had a banner year in 2013-14. The team won a second-straight combined six-weapon title at the New England Intercollegiate Fencing Championships. The men posted a 21-7 record in dual matches, including a win over then-10th-ranked Duke. The women were 22-10 in dual matches. The Judges also had three bronze medal squads at the U.S. Collegiate Squad championships, as men's and women's foil and men's sabre all finished in third place behind nationally-ranked squads.