The No. 8 Owls made a statement this weekend by winning the overall title at the Duke Invitational on Sunday. The team went 5-0, with four of the five victories coming over teams that received votes in the latest coaches’ poll. The Owls defeated their five opponents by a combined score of 98 to 37.
“Overall we did very well as a team,” coach Nikki Franke said. “We kept our focus and fenced very hard. It was challenging. Everyone was out to beat us so it was very important that the girls maintained their focus and concentration.”
The Owls started their day with a 23-4 victory over Brandeis. Sabre and épée combined to go 17-1. Senior sabre Tasia Ford, who was 9-0 on the day and junior sabre Lauren Rangel-Friedman, who went 7-2 on the day, went 3-0. Sophomore épée Jessica Hall also went 3-0 and 8-2 on the day.
They followed that up with a 19-8 victory over the University of North Carolina. Foil and épée both won 7-2 and sabre wont 5-4. Freshman foil Miranda Litzinger, freshman épée Alexandra Keft and sophomore foil Fatima Largaespada all went 2-0. Litzinger went 8-3, Keft went 6-1 and Largaespada went 7-3.
They would then defeat Air Force 20-7 and host Duke 16-11. Freshmen épée’s Noelle Baptiste, Keft and Rachael Clark all went 3-0 against Air Force. Clark was 10-2 on the day and Baptiste went 6-1. Against Duke, foil and épée both won 5-4 and sabre won 6-3. Senior épée Chantal Montrose went 2-1 and 6-2 on the day.
They finished the day with a 20-7 win over Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Junior sabre Tiki Kastor, who posted a 7-1 record on the day, went 2-1 and Baptiste and Clark went 3-0 for épée.
On the day the Owls had six fencers who only lost one bout and had two squads that did not lose a match all tournament: épée and sabre.
“All three of our squads did well…and that is what we expected of the girls coming in,” Franke said. “They fenced well and we knew they were capable of doing that.”
The Owls do not have a tournament next weekend but Keft, sophomore Petra Khan and Litzinger will be competing in the Junior Olympics in Portland, Oregon on Feb. 14-17.
Michael Guise can be reached at Michaelguise@temple.edu or on Twitter @MikeG2511.