Saturday’s competition was a long, disappointing day for the fencing team, and playing at home was no advantage for the Owls. The Owls did not fair well against Columbia, Cornell, Northwestern, Penn, Penn State or St. John’s.
Two days after dropping close competitions to No. 8 Penn and No. 9 Princeton, the No. 10 Owls looked far from a contender.
On Saturday, No. 3 Penn State dominated the Owls in the first meet of the day.
The Owls’ most devastating loss was that of their captain, senior Jeanne Browne. In what ended up being her last fight of the day, Browne rolled her ankle and fell to the ground early against Penn State. She had to be helped to the locker room, and returned to the court on crutches about an hour later to watch and cheer her teammates.
In Browne’s absence, junior Jenna Remmert and senior Amanda Gerwer tried to step up and motivate their teammates, but the team was unable to turn any of that motivation into victories.
“Things aren’t usually like this,” Remmert said, following a terrible loss to No. 6 Northwestern. “Nothing’s ticking. Everything seems to be off.”
The Owls lost a close meet to No. 7 St. John’s, and were beaten easily by No. 5 Columbia.
Temple was beaten big in every foil event – the weapon of choice for Browne.
“The team will do fine [without me],” Browne said. “I have full confidence in them.”
The Owls who participated in foil were able to prove their captain right in their last bouts, winning eight of nine foil matches en route to beating Cornell.
Coach Nikki Franke said she hoped Browne’s injury was not too serious.
“Right now we have a two-week break,” Franke said. “So hopefully she’ll be ready to go by then.”
Before the losses to Penn and Princeton, the Owls started the season looking good with a 3-0 record. They won the Northwestern Multi Meet, the Johns Hopkins Tournament, and a quad meet at McGonigle Hall last weekend. In two of those first three meets, the Owls held their opponents winless.
“We have to work on our focus and our point speed,” Franke said Saturday. “We should have done better than we did, but the season is for us to learn. Now we can go back, we know the things we have to work on to get ready for the postseason. We’ve had a lot of injuries. A little rest will do [the team] some good.”
Epee and sabre coach Bradley Baker said the Owls had looked forward to a hard meet Saturday.
“Overall, these are some of the best teams in the country,” Baker said. “It’s good to get a measurement against what you’re going to see at Regionals and then Nationals. We expected today to be a hard day.”
Jeff Appelblatt can be reached at The.Jeff@temple.edu.