The women’s foil team may have a small roster, but it makes up for it with skill.
As a whole, Penn women’s fencing consists only of 14 members, four on the foil squad. With the top three competing in team competitions, every person really matters.
While the team competed this past weekend for the first time as a team, sophomore Luona Wang has already re-established herself as a crucial team anchor.
Competing as an individual at the Garret Open in early November, Luona Wang exacted revenge.
After losing to Evgeniya Kirpicheva of St. John’s in the 2012 Women’s Foil NCAA Championship Finals in March, Wang returned the favor by beating Kirpicheva in early November at the Garret Open.
But Wang’s grudge but will take a back seat to team competition as the season continues.
Team meets consist of shorter bouts than individual meets. A different approach must be taken to this different style of competition.
“Team events have shorter bouts … so it’s about taking what I did in the 15 touch bouts and finding the changes I made and making them faster for the five touch bouts,” Wang said.
Going into the first team competition at the Vassar Invitational, the women’s confidence showed. The meet consisted of six teams, North Carolina, Vassar, Sacred Heart, NYU, Temple and Penn.
“We were really close to beating Temple last season and this season we really want to beat them,” Wang said.
Unfortunately, the women repeated the same result as last year, again losing to Temple by a score of 14-13. Aside from that loss, however, the Penn women beat every other team.
Both Wang and Wendy Zhao went undefeated at the Vassar Invitational with 9-0 and 11-0 records respectively, an impressive start to both of their seasons.
With no new freshmen, the foil team is building off of last year’s success. They have been working to not only raise their skill level but also improve their mental game and team collaboration.
One important aspect that Wang noted is the ability to deal with pressure. Because fencing is an individual and fast-paced sport, half of the battle is learning how to perform under pressure.
Despite the temporary practice area and close quarters, the team has one more strip than last year. This allows for more fencers to be practicing one-on-one with each other in real bout-like situations.
“We’re definitely stronger this year, we’re all really working hard,” said Wang.
With so few fencers, the fencing team as a whole has been working to strengthen the foil program each year. With the success of Wang and company, women’s fencing is definitely in the right direction.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.