PHILADELPHIA - After finishing eighth at last season's NCAA Championships, the Penn women's fencing team begins anew on Saturday, hosting the Philadelphia Invitational to begin the 2011-12 campaign. The Quakers, ranked #9 in the first USFCA poll of the season, bring in 11 schools to compete at the event, but will face only five.
Last season's meet, hosted by Temple, saw the Red and Blue begin their year with a 4-1 mark. The Quakers opened with wins over Duke, North Carolina and Haverford, lost to Northwestern but rebounded to defeat Sacred Heart in their last bout. The Blue Devils, Tar Heels and Fords will all be at this year's invite, but depart from Penn's schedule to make way for Fairleigh Dickinson, Johns Hopkins and NJIT.
Saturday will begin for Penn at 9 a.m., facing the Knights of FDU. While the teams didn't oppose each other last year, this will be a rematch of a contest from the 2010 Philadelphia Invitational, where Penn coasted to a 20-7 victory.
Johns Hopkins is next up, beginning at 10:15 a.m. The Blue Jays bring a 3-0 record into this weekend, as well as aduo that brought home gold medals at last month's NIWFA Christmas Invitational.
An 11:30 clash with#4 Northwestern is perhaps Penn's most difficult task of the day. The Wildcatshandedthe Quakers their first defeatlast season by a score of 16-11 andare the highest-ranked team in the event among four schools in the top ten.
Penn returns to the stripsat 2 p.m.against a Sacred Heart squad that is receiving votes nationally. The Red and Blue manhandled the Pioneersa year ago by a count of 19-8, including an 8-1 edge in epee.
At 3:15, Penn wraps up its day by facing NJIT. The Highlanders are 2-0 on the young season, having gained victories over Fairleigh Dickinson and Hunter in November.
Dominika Franciszkowicz will be expected to lead as Penn's lone returning sabre. She is joined in that weapon by freshmen Laura Barger, Susan Contess and Krystyna Golden. Senior Laura Paragano and sophomore Wendy Zhao return in foil. Each racked up 30 wins in 2010-11. Gabby Foor led all returners in bout victories last season with 36. She returns in epee along with Amrit Bhinder, who closed out last season as a Second Team All-American.
Download: Women's Fencing Sked.pdf