Sabre squad earns second place at January NAC

Three of Temple’s sabres finished in the top 50 at the January North American Cup in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sophomore sabres Malia Hee (left) and Kerry Plunkett practice at the Student Pavilion on Feb. 13. | ALEX ST. CLAIR / TTN FILE PHOTO

Temple University’s sabre squad earned the team’s best result at the January North American Cup last weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The sabre squad –– senior Blessing Olaode, juniors Malia Hee and Kerry Plunkett and sophomore Eva Hinds –– earned second place in the team sabre event.

Temple lost to Bergen Fencing Club, 45-35, in the championship match. Bergen Fencing Club’s team included two-time NCAA women’s sabre champion Francesca Russo, Team USA fencer Celina Merza and Anne-Elizabeth Stone, who tied for third at the 2018 World Championships.

In the loss, Plunkett outscored Merza, while Hinds outscored both Merza and Stone.

“It was an outstanding result for our sabre team,” coach Nikki Franke said. “They were in a competition with 13 other teams. They fenced very well, and it was very exciting.”

The epee squad earned fourth place in the team competition on Monday. Temple lost to top seed and eventual foil champion Northwestern University, 45-27, in the semifinals.

In the team foil competition, Temple finished ninth out of 14 teams.

“All of the top fencers in the country compete in this tournament,” Franke said. “It’s not just a collegiate meet. It was a very strong competition and I think we held our own.”

In the individual sabre competition, Olaode had Temple’s best result. Olaode finished 32nd and lost to Russo in the Round of 32.

“It was an outstanding result for her,” Franke said. “It was a very strong field. It’s the best result she’s had at a national tournament.”

Two other sabres finished in the top 50 in the individual competition for Temple. Hee finished 45th and Plunkett finished 48th.

In the individual foil competition, junior Kennedy Lovelace went 5-1 in pool play and won her first elimination match en route to placing 38th out of 165 fencers.

Senior Ally Micek was the Owls’ top individual epee performer, finishing 69th out of 182 fencers.

Getting an opportunity to participate in competition helped the team before it resumes the collegiate meet portion of its schedule, Franke said. Before the January NAC, Temple hadn’t competed since the Sacred Heart Invitational on Dec. 2.

“Practice is one thing, but being in competition and having the opportunity to fence different people is always going to be helpful,” Franke said.

Temple will compete in its second dual meet on Sunday at the Penn State Invitational against Penn State, Columbia University, Yale University, Duke University and Haverford College.

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