Despite a weekend of losses, the UCSB Fencing Club team performed well above expectations at the West Coast Collegiate Team Invitational last week.

The tournament, hosted by UCLA, saw 12 different schools from across the country face off in men’s and women’s sabre, epee, and foil matches. For the UCSB, playing in its first tournament of 2005, it was an opportunity to test its skills against nearby rivals Fullerton and Cal Poly, as well as more distant programs like Florida and Temple.

“I think we’re proud of how we performed,” Head Coach Phil Sloan said. “We didn’t go in thinking we would win, and we didn’t win.”

On Saturday, the men’s sabre team did not win a match in pool play, but they came close, losing a match to Cal Poly that came down to the last touch. In the direct elimination round, men’s sabre was eliminated by third-seeded Florida. Later that night, the women’s sabre team was able to defeat Temple in pool play 6-3, but suffered a similar fate in the direct elimination round, also being eliminated by Florida.

Sunday provided the Gauchos with much more promising signs, starting with the men’s foil team. In the preliminary round, UCSB was able to defeat both De Anza and UCLA, and, after defeating De Anza in the first round of direct elimination play, they were eliminated in the second round by Fullerton, losing the best-of-nine series 5-1.

Perhaps the most surprising performance was the eighth-seeded women’s epee squad. Having lost all its pool-play matches, UCSB looked to be no match for first-seeded Florida in direct elimination play. Even though they lost the match, the Gauchos performed much better than many expected, winning three bouts out of eight.

After the tournament, Sloan remained optimistic.

“I’d like to say that we all had a great time, and that despite a lot of losses, we still came out of the tournament feeling pretty good.”

The Gauchos next play host to a tournament, which will kick off Feb. 3 at Robertson Gym.