PHILADELPHIA - The women's fencing team will compete in Philadelphia for the only time this season on Saturday when they travel to Temple to compete in the Philadelphia Invitational. The Quakers will compete in six bouts from Temple's Student Pavilion, opening with an 8:30 a.m. meeting against Duke. Penn enters the weekend ranked No. 10 in the nation in the first CollegeFencing360.com Fencing Coaches' Poll of the season.
Through two team competitions, foil and epee have emerged as the strengths of this year's squad, with each group posting 8-1 records through nine bouts. Of the two losses, each has come by only one point to teams that the Quakers will face on Saturday. Wendy Zhao has gotten off to a 20-3 start to the year in foil, while Sarah Parmacek is second on the team in wins at 18-7. A first-team All-American as a freshman, Luona Wang has benn used selectively so far this season, but at 15-2, leads Penn in winning percentage among those with 10 or more bouts.
The epee team has received solid contributions from Sara Jones (13-3 on the year), Amrit Bhinder (13-5) and Gabby Foor (12-5). Srey Beaulac and Corey Novich are both 5-0 in more limited roles with the squad.
The Philadelphia Invitational begins for Penn with a tough matchup against Duke at 8:30 a.m. The Blue Devils received the most votes in the receiving votes category of the coaches' poll, putting them directly behind the Quakers in the national pecking order. When the two teams met up two weeks ago at the Penn State Invitational, the Red and Blue were able to sneak away with a 14-13 win thanks to a 7-2 edge in foil. The morning continues with a 10 a.m. meeting with Fairleigh Dickinson and then closes at 11:30 a.m. against No. 7 Northwestern. Penn hasn't defeated the Wildcats since the 2006-07 season, but in that time have never been defeated by a margin of more than five points. Northwestern is led by a pair of seniors coming off seasons in which they earned All-America honors - Kate Cavanaugh (first-team epee) and Dayana Sarkisova (second-team foil).
The afternoon features three rematches from earlier this season and kicks off with a second meeting against Haverford in as many competitions at 1:30 p.m. The Quakers downed the Fords at Penn State two weeks ago, 24-3. A 3 p.m. bout then takes place against Sacred Heart. The Pioneers fell victim to the Quakers, 18-9, at the Vassar Invitational in December. The day's last bout may be the most anticipated of them all. Penn will take on host and No. 9 Temple beginning at 4:30 p.m. The Owls dealt the Red and Blue one of their only two losses of the season at Vassar, winning 14-13. Each weapon group in that matchup ended with scores of 5-4, with epee winning for Penn, but sabre coming up short and foil losing by a single touch for its only loss of the season.
Check back into PennAthletics.com on Saturday night for full results of the day's events.