Temple Fencing seeks success against top competition this season

The No. 11 Owls are looking to continue their dominance after appearing in their first NCAA Championships last season under head coach Jennie Salmon.

After being ranking 11 in the AP Coaching Poll, Temple Fencing is looking forward to a strong season. | COURTESY / TEMPLE ATHLETICS

Temple Fencing ended last season on a roll, ranking 11th in the final U.S. Fencing Coaches Association poll.

This year, the Owls will have plenty of momentum to make even more noise in the 2023-24 season, which they opened with a strong performance at the Garrett Open held by Penn State on Oct. 21 and at the Inaugural Coach Nikki Franke Classic on Nov. 4.

The Owls saw five top-eight performers, led by foilist Anna Novoseltseva, tie for third place in the foil event at the Garrett Open. At the Coach Nikki Frank Classic, the Owls were led by epeeist Lindsey Minor as she finished third in the epee event. The Owls had four top-eight finishes along with 11 top-15 finishes.

“I feel that last season was a success,” said head coach Jennie Salmon. “We worked hard, we trained hard, but it was really getting to know each other and that emotional connection that we had to grow together last season.”

The change in the head coaching position from hall of fame head coach Nikki Franke, to Salmon had its challenges. The team adapted to a different leadership style than they were used to, but the Owls have maintained their winning mentality throughout the adjustment.

“It’s been pretty much different but the same,” Novoseltseva said. “I think they’re both very intense, they like to win, and they want to push us to do even better.”


The No. 11 Owls went 30-17 during the regular season, winning five of seven tournaments, just their third time making 30 wins in dual play in program history. 

At the December North American Cup, sabreist Zoe Turner placed in the top 25 in her first USA Fencing event of the year after earning a first-round bye and falling in the Round of 32.

In the January NAC, seven Owls placed in the top 100 in their respective events, highlighted by epeeists Naomi Ross and Margherita Calderaro, who advanced to the final elimination round, with Calderaro finishing 15th.

During the Owls’ 27th National Intercollegiate Women’s Fencing Association title defense, they swept the three weapons titles for the third consecutive year and won two titles with Novoseltseva winning her second foil title and Calderaro taking home her second career epee title. Novoseltseva, Calderaro and foilist Gretl Merges also earned NIWFA First-Team honors.

The team sent 12 fencers to the NCAA Regionals. Saberists Eva Ventura and Emma Pincus and foilists Anna Novoseltseva and Elizabeth Novoseltseva advanced to the final elimination round. Anna Novoseltseva finished sixth, the highest finish of any Temple fencer in the tournament.

After being selected to the NCAA championships in Durham, North Carolina, last season, Anna Novoseltseva finished 22nd with six bouts among 24 women, and she’s returning with better form and bigger goals this season.

“I really want to go to NCAAs [championship] this season again, but I also want to be All-American,” Anna Novoseltseva said. “As a team goal, we definitely want to beat the schools that are ranked higher than us and just to go out there and have fun.”


This season, the team is primarily made up of returning talent, but Temple also gained four new faces: foilist Natalie Adams-Kim, sabreist Lauren Johnson and epeeists Lindsey Minor and Grace Smith.

Notable players, like epeeists Sarah Park and Ross and sabreist Pincus, departed, and eight Owls fencers, including Elizabeth Novoseltseva and Calderaro, are set to make their last run in Cherry and White. The upperclassmen are looking to make a mark in the program and act as mentors for the younger members. 

“The upperclassmen will take initiative and the freshmen will see that and follow ensuite,”  Turner said. “We communicate and make sure that they feel comfortable asking questions and coming to us with any concerns, and that connects us to creating that close-knit family environment.”  


The Owls have their next meet in Fairfield, Connecticut, for the Sacred Heart Duals Dec. 3, which closes the team’s 2023 schedule.

To start the new year, Temple will travel to San Jose, California, for the January North American Cup, part of the US Fencing competition, on Jan. 5-8. The Owls return to Happy Valley the following week to compete in the Penn State Invitational on Jan. 14.

Temple will also compete in its first Philadelphia-based tournament of the season at the Philadelphia Invitational at the TU Pavilion and Penn Jan. 19 and 21. 

Next, the team will head to Evanston, Illinois, for the Northwestern Duals Feb. 3-4 and then Chapel Hill, North Carolina the following week for the Tar Heel Duals on Feb. 10 and the Duke Invitational in Durham, North Carolina on Feb. 11. 

The Owls will close out the regular season with the Temple Invitational at McGonigle Hall Feb. 25.

Postseason begins Mar. 3 at the NIWFA Championships in Madison, New Jersey, where Temple will attempt to secure its 28th-straight title. The NCAA Mid-Atlantic/South Regionals then take place Mar. 10 and the NCAA Championships will be Mar. 23-26 in Columbus, Ohio, hosted by Ohio State.

While the Owls look to perform at a high level in all tournaments, they have a few matchups on the calendar marked for revenge after being handed losses from Penn and Penn State last season.

“Those close matches with Northwestern, Cornell, Penn and Penn State as well, we would like to land on top of those,” Salmon said.

Temple Fencing has high expectations after finishing last year nationally ranked, but the Owls are on the right track toward competing at a national level with their strong start to the season and a history of success.

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