Temple fencing wins two of three bouts at Duke Invitational

Duke University, the No. 10 team in the CollegeFencing360.com Women’s Coaches Poll, gave No. 7 Temple its only loss on Sunday in Durham, North Carolina.

Coach Nikki Franke (center) watches as sophomore foil Kennedy Lovelace (left) and freshman foil Megan Ross practice on Feb. 1 at the Student Pavilion. | JOCELYN BURNS / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple posted a 2-1 record at the Duke Invitational on Sunday in Durham, North Carolina.

The Owls defeated the University of North Carolina, 15-10, and Brandeis University, 19-8.

Temple’s (24-9) only loss was to the host team, Duke University, 16-11. The Blue Devils are ranked 10th in the CollegeFencing360.com Women’s Coaches Poll. The Owls are No. 7 in the poll, six points ahead of Penn.

The University of Notre Dame could not travel to the meet due to a snow storm. Penn State took the Fighting Irish’s place, but the Owls’ match against the Nittany Lions didn’t affect their record.

“I felt like we started slow then picked it up throughout the day,” coach Nikki Franke said. “We knew [North Carolina] and Duke were two very strong programs we wanted to perform well against. I liked the way we fought against North Carolina, but we just weren’t able to do the same against Duke.”

Duke’s sabre and epee squads each took 6-3 victories against Temple. The foil squad went a perfect 3-0 on the day. It beat both North Carolina and Duke by a score of 5-4 and defeated Brandeis by a score of 7-2. Sophomore Kennedy Lovelace led the foil squad with a 9-0 record.

“Kennedy did a great job today,” Franke said. “She worked really hard today along with the rest of the foil squad. They did a good job of adjusting as the day went along.”

Sophomore Malia Hee and junior Jessica Rockford performed well for the sabre squad, Franke said. Hee went 2-1 against both North Carolina and Duke. Rockford was 4-0 on the day. Sophomore Kerry Plunkett also won four bouts.

In the win against North Carolina, senior epee Safa Ibrahim went 3-0. She finished with a 5-2 record, the best on the epee squad.  

“Malia and Safa fenced really good against some high level competition,” Franke said. “The epee squad fenced well. They really helped us come back against [North Carolina]. I also liked how tough the sabre squad fenced today.”

Temple will now have a 13-day break from dual meets until it hosts the Temple Invitational on Feb. 24 at McGonigle Hall.

It is the Owls’ longest break since they went from Jan. 21 to Feb. 3 without a competition.

“It is nice to get some time to refocus on some details ahead,” Franke said. “It is going to get harder and harder as we get further in the season.”

Before the team regroups for the Temple Invitational, sophomore epee Camille Simmons and freshman epee Marielle Luke will compete at the Junior Olympics in Memphis, Tennessee, from Friday to Monday.

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