Eight matches into the Vassar Invitational on Saturday, the men’s and women’s fencing teams had yet to be beaten.
The men finished their day in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., undefeated, easily beating North Carolina, Vassar, Sacred Heart and NYU. The women, however, still had to face one more opponent, Temple, which defeated the Quakers by one bout last year.
“It was so intense,” sophomore Luona Wang said.
Penn’s sabre team lost to the Owls, 5-4, while the epee team beat Temple, 5-4.
“It all came down to the last foil matches,” Wang said.
Wang and sophomore Rachel Chin fenced simultaneously in the decisive foil bouts. Wang won her match, while Chin lost by a single touch, and Penn lost the match, 14-13.
“It was just so close,” Wang said. “It could have literally gone either way.”
Despite the single narrow loss for the women, coach Andy Ma said he was pleased with the day’s results. The men won every single one of their matches by at least 11 bouts.
The women beat their first four opponents by wide margins. Aside from the loss to Temple, their narrowest competition was an 18-9 victory over Sacred Heart.
For both teams, the results were unsurprising. Ma predicted on Thursday that the women’s match against Temple would be the closest competition of the tournament.
“I’m pretty happy,” Ma said. “Pretty happy.”
Wang went undefeated, the first time she has done so in her college career. She said her record Saturday came as a surprise.
“Last season, I wanted to go undefeated,” Wang said. “I always lost a bout, and I got really frustrated. This time, I didn’t really think about it that much. I just wanted to do what I have to do. Then afterwards, I thought, ‘I think I went undefeated.’ So, it was nice.”
Women’s epee did “exceptionally well,” Wang said, as they won all of their matches as a group.
The Red and Blue will next compete at the Penn State Invitational on Jan. 12.
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