Sayville, Bayport-Blue Point and Connetquot high schools’ combined fencing teams placed second in Suffolk County on Wednesday, losing the title match to a team of fencers from Newfield and Miller Place, 14-10.
The Sayville area team had reached the finals with a 14-10 semifinal win over Commack on Tuesday.
Below is the original story published earlier this week.
The combined boys fencing team from Sayville, Bayport-Blue Point and Connetquot high schools puts its undefeated season on the line in pursuit of a county title Tuesday, Feb. 23, in the first round of the county playoffs.
The team’s 9-0 finish earned the Sayville area boys the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage in their first-round match with Commack (6-3). T & D Sports Video Production will broadcast the semi-final contest live at 4 p.m.
The team has been inspired by the story and leadership of one of its captains, Matt Zender, who battled bone cancer in his right leg for most of the 2019-2020 school year and is now in remission.
After 10 months of chemotherapy treatment, Matt, a senior at Sayville High School, then spent months rehabbing his leg and getting his body in fencing shape, just in time for his final high school season.
“I love these kids. I have so much respect for them. They make me look good,” said Jill Brown, who coaches the boys, as well as the Sayville-BBP-Connetquot girls team. “Matt Zender is the glue on our team. He keeps everyone in line and focused.
“And best of all, he’s fencing … after kicking cancer’s butt … and he’s winning bouts for his team. I am so proud of my kids!” Brown added.
Matt explained that the team’s six seniors — fencing together since sixth grade — formed the backbone of the team.
“Everyone has improved so much throughout the season — especially our third-string fencers, stepping up and putting in the work to become better every day,” Matt said. “I couldn’t ask for a better team to be with.”
The girls team also made the county playoffs. They square off on the road in a semi-final match against Half Hollow Hills on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 4 p.m.
Check out some photos of team in action below.