PHILADELPHIA - Fresh off a 4-1 weekend at the Philadelphia Invitational, with the only loss being to #4 Northwestern, Penn's women's fencing team will receive another major early-season test on Saturday at the Penn State Invitational. Holding a #9 ranking of their own, the Quakers will battle three other top ten opponents, including the #1 team in the nation, Penn State.
The Red and Blue were given no favors in the scheduling department, immediately facing #8 Temple at 9 a.m. to open the morning session. Temple was dominant a week ago at the Philadelphia Invitational, going a perfect 5-0 and knocking off Northwestern, 14-13. The Owls and Quakers are certainly not strangers to each other despite not squaring off last week. The two face each other yearly, with Temple not having lost since 2008-09. Last year, Temple knocked off Penn by a score of 18-9 at this same event.
A meeting with the #1 Nittany Lions is scheduled for 10:15 a.m. Despite its lofty ranking, Penn State struggled last weekend, going just 2-3 at the St. John's Invitational. Victories over St. John's and Notre Dame were offset by losses against Harvard, Columbia and Ohio State. Competing at home, PSU will surely offer the Quakers one of their tougher tests of the season.
Just as with Temple, Penn's final three opponents of the day were all in Hutchinson Gym last week, but avoided the Quakers with this weekend's invite in mind. At 11:30 a.m., Penn will go up against North Carolina, a team that also went 4-1 last weekend with a loss to Northwestern. Following lunch, Penn will see another school from the Philadelphia area, facing Haverford at 1:15 p.m. The day comes to a close at 2:30 versus #10 Duke. The Blue Devils were perfect last weekend, going 5-0 as a team without dropping a single weapon in any of their bouts.
For Penn, foil was the key to a successful start to its season. Wendy Zhao, Sarah Parmacek, Luona Wang and Rachel Chin combined to win 39 of 45 possible bouts, keying the four Quaker wins. Amrit Bhinder led epee with a 9-2 mark while Dominka Franciszkowicz was 7-1 in sabre.
Following the Penn State Invitational, Penn will quickly jump back into action at the Eric Sollee Invitational on Feb. 4, hosted by Brandeis.