Owls struggle through Temple Invitational

Facing three teams ranked ahead of them, the fencing team posted a 1-3 performance Saturday.

Whether it was shouts of joy or frustration, screams could be heard throughout McGonigle Hall as different men and women fencing teams converged at the annual Temple Invitational on Saturday.

The Owls entered the day with an opportunity to move up in the national rankings when No. 3 Princeton, No. 6 Penn State,  No. 8 Penn,  No. 9 St. John’s and Brown paid a visit, but the Owls fell short.

“Obviously it didn’t turn out the way we would have liked,” coach Nikkie Franke said. “It was tough. We needed to catch a few breaks that we didn’t catch.”

Temple’s only victory on the day came at the hands of the Brown Bears with a 23-4 win. The Owls lost their three matches to ranked opponents, including one-point defeats to both Princeton and St. John’s.

Sophomore Victoria Suber was one of the few sabrists who fenced on the strip, but struggled to find some momentum against Princeton. Volunteer saber coach Josh Herring was forced to call timeout on numerous occasions.

Temple and St. John’s jostled positions on the scoreboard  as junior saber fencers Petra Khan and Gloria Aguilar did not let the match get away as they often tied the game. Nevertheless, that wasn’t enough as the Owls found themselves on the wrong side of a 14-13 score.

In the final match of the day, the Owls faced in-state rival Penn State, but couldn’t keep up. The Nittany Lions cruised past the Owls with a 15-12 win.

In her second bound of the round, silence filled the room when freshman Becca Stanford fell during her match and hit her head on the strip. The foilist stayed down on the floor for about two minutes before sitting up as an athletic trainer tended to her. The 5-foot 7-inch freshman eventually started walking before following the trainer off the floor.

When asked about her condition, Franke said she did not get an opportunity to check with the trainers.

“I have to go to the trainers and see how she is doing,” Franke said. “She hit her head pretty hard.”

Before the start of the day’s meet, the lone senior on the team, Lauren Rangel-Friedman, was treated  to a Senior Day celebration as she fenced her final home meet at Temple.

Now, the Owls look North in anticipation of the NIWFA Championship next Saturday at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Danielle Nelson can be reached at danielle.nelson@temple.edu or on Twitter @Dan_Nels.

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