On the day of the first regular season tournament at Vassar College, it wasn’t just the five freshman who were nervous. It was the whole fencing team.
“Everyone just had to get the jitters out,” coach Nikki Franke said. “Once we worked that out and everybody settled down, then things went pretty smoothly.”
“Pretty smoothly” might be putting it lightly. The Owls shook off their nerves and dominated their competition, winning all four of their matches Saturday in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. They beat NYU 20-7, Vassar 22-5, Sacred Heart 25-2 and capped off the day with a close 14-13 victory over the University of Pennsylvania.
This was the first dual meet competition of the year. In a dual meet, two teams face off. Each team picks three players per fencing style, and those three players play three bouts each, for a total of nine bouts bet style, and 27 bouts total. Each team gets a point for each bout won.
“Everybody had the chance to compete,” Franke said.
The Owls not only went undefeated as a team, they also went 4-0 in the foil and sabre categories. Only in epee did they lose a set, going 3-1. The one loss came against Penn.
Franke was particularly pleased with the victory against Penn.
“Penn is always a very tough match, and we won that one,” Franke said. “They’re a very good team. It went all the way down to the end, so that was a good way for us to start the season.”
This was the first regular season competition for Temple’s freshmen: Demi Antipas, Jessica Hall, Petra Khan, Fatima Largaespada and Olivia Wynn. Franke said they were especially nervous.
“They had a lot of nerves at the beginning, which was understandable,” Franke said. “They didn’t really know how this all worked. At the meet, there were 10 different schools there, so there was a lot of fencing going on all over. They made the adjustment.”
Ultimately, Franke was happy with the start to the season.
“This was our first meet with a lot of freshman, so I was was very pleased,” Franke said. “We ended up undefeated on the day, so that’s a great way to start the season.”
Temple’s next competition is the Penn State Invitational, on January 12, 2013.
Evan Cross can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EvanCross.