No. 10 Temple Fencing beats three ranked teams at Northwestern Duals

The Owls finished with a 9-2 record during the two-day competition in Evanston, Illinois.

Then-junior foil Auset Muhammad fences Penn opponent during the Temple Invitational in the Pearson and McGonigle Hall Gym on Jan. 26, 2018. | JOCELYN BURNS / FILE PHOTO

Temple University fencing defeated three top-10 schools ranked by Women’s Coaches Poll, including No. 2 Northwestern University, on Saturday.

During the two-day competition, No. 10 Temple finished with a 9-2 record overall, defeating Northwestern and No. 5 Ohio State University and No. 6 Princeton University on Sunday.

Temple’s sabre squad beat Northwestern 7-2, allowing the Owls to beat the Wildcats 14-13 despite losses from their epee and foil squads

“To win that match at [Northwestern’s] gym was just extra exciting,” coach Nikki Franke said. “They had a nice crowd there, so there was a lot of enthusiasm. The girls handled that pressure very well.”

Temple (18-7) defeated Princeton, 19-8, and Ohio State, 15-12. The foil squad finished 9-0 against the Tigers while the sabre squad won 6-3. Against the Buckeyes, the foil and epee squads both won 6-3.

Temple lost 17-10 against the University of Notre Dame and Duke University on Saturday. The two losses were the Owls only defeats during the weekend.

The Owls bounced back to beat two ranked teams on Sunday after suffering losses to No.1 Notre Dame and No. 8 Duke, Franke said.

“We fenced very strong on the second day,” Franke said. “They didn’t let the first-day losses get to them. They knew it was a new day. We were disappointed in the loss to Duke because we had beaten them earlier in the year. We had to move forward and they did a good job of that.”

Temple defeated the University of the Incarnate Word, Stanford University and the University of California San Diego on Saturday. The Owls topped Incarnate Word, 21-6. The sabre squad went undefeated, while the foil squad finished 7-2.

On Sunday, the Owls beat the United States Air Force Academy, Lawrence University and the University of North Carolina to finish the competition. The Owls defeated Air Force, 20-7. The epee and sabre squads won 7-2, while foil besting the Falcons 6-3.

The Owls swept Lawrence, 27-0, with all three squads going undefeated. The Owls topped the Tar Heels, 19-8. The epee squad went 8-1 against North Carolina.

Junior Kerry Plunkett propelled the sabre squad with a 21-2 record, including a 12-0 performance on Saturday. Plunkett won all of her bouts against Duke, Northwestern, Princeton and Air Force. Junior sabre Malia Hee finished the competition with a 17-4 record going undefeated against Northwestern and Ohio State.

Senior Auset Muhammad led the foil squad with a 17-9 record and recorded two wins against Stanford, Duke and North Carolina. Junior foil Kennedy Lovelace went 3-0 against Ohio State.

Senior epee Ally Micek finished 11-1 on the second day of competition going 3-0 against Ohio State and North Carolina. Sophomore epee Zahrah Dinkins had a 5-1 record on Sunday.

The Owls’ overall performance in the competition will give the team more confidence heading into the rest of the season, Franke said.

“They know they can compete with anyone out there,” Franke added. “That’s very important mentally. They feel they can go into every match truly feeling they have an opportunity to win.”

The Owls will next compete against the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Stevens Institute of Technology and Wagner College at the NJIT Invitational on Saturday.

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