Temple fencers gain experience at Penn

Temple University fencing went 3-2 at the Elite Meet at Penn over the weekend.

Senior sabre Kerry Plunkett lunges toward Chloe Chen, a sophomore sabre at New York University, during the Temple Open at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 2. | JUSTIN OAKES / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University women’s fencing team competed in its first team competition at the University of Pennsylvania’s Elite Meet Saturday afternoon. 

The event featured nine of the top 10 women’s teams from last year. 

The Owls fell in their opening match against a formidable Harvard team, 11-16. Temple bounced back in their second match to defeat the New Jersey Institute of Technology 17-10. 

The Owls carried this momentum into their third and fourth matches, comfortably defeating the University of North Carolina 22-5 and then the Air Force Academy 18-9 respectively. 

Temple faced Cornell University in their final match of the day. The Owls fell in a 13-14 match that went down to the wire. 

The Owls were down 8-12 heading into the epee round. The epees won 6-3 to pull the Owls ahead of the Big Red 13-12. Cornell tied the match 13-13 and then went on to clinch the win with a 5-4 victory in the final bout.

“That’s as close as you can get,” coach Nikki Franke said. “We fought hard down to the final touch against a very good team.” 

The epee squad led the way, going 4-1 on the day. The sabre squad, lead by seniors Kerry Plunkett and Malia Hee, was 3-2. The foils finished at 3-2 as well. 

Temple’s sophomore foil Aryana Abtin dominated the field, going 11-3 on the day. Sophomore epee Naomi Ross was undefeated at 9-0.

The tournament marked the first time the Owls’ freshmen competed in a team meet. The only freshman to not compete was epee Margherita Calderaro, who is currently in Italy to compete in a national tournament, Franke said. 

“It was all a learning experience for our freshmen,” Franke said. “I was pleased with how resilient they were … it is tough to adjust to team play and they did a very good job.” 

Franke said that going up against experienced fencers is a good way to gauge where the team is at early in the season so that appropriate adjustments can be made moving forward. 

The Owls will next be competing at the Penn State Open on Nov. 23. 

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