POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - A single point was all that separated the women's fencing team from a perfect start to their season on Saturday at the Vassar Invitational. Penn had little trouble in four bouts against North Carolina, Vassar, Sacred Heart and NYU, but fell to Temple, 14-13, in the final matchup of the day.
Foil has high expectations this season, but it was the epee team that managed to win all five of its matchups at Vassar. The day began with a 19-8 win over North Carolina that was sparked by an 8-1 edge in foil. Both Luona Wang and Wendy Zhao led the way with 3-0 marks in that weapon, while Amrit Bhinder added a 3-0 mark in epee.
The other noteworthy win for Penn on the day came against Sacred Heart, 18-9. Zhao was the lone Quaker to fence more than one bout against the Pioneers and make it through unscathed. Her 3-0 mark was the key as foil posted a 7-2 win.
Penn also posted victories over Vassar and NYU by identical scores of 24-3, with each weapon group going 8-1 across the board.
The battle with Temple was expected to be close, and it didn't disappoint. Each weapon group was decided by a 5-4 margin, but unfortunately for Penn, the Owls were able to find the one extra point they needed in 14-13 win. Two wins from Gabby Foor helped epee to a 5-4 victory, but foil and sabre each fell by 5-4 scores.
Zhao and Tiffany Chan led the way with 11 bout victories on the day for Penn, with Sara Jones adding 10 and Wang, Sarah Parmacek and Susan Contess all posting nine.
The Quakers return to the strips on Jan. 12 at the Penn State Invitational. A strong field is to be expected as Penn looks to improve upon last season's 3-2 record at the event.