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The Penn women's fencing team faced off against Princeton and Temple in Weightman Gym on Sunday. What unfolded was an emotional roller coaster that spiraled from very low to sky high. In the first match-up of the day, the Red and Blue battled the Owls, a team that had defeated them by just one bout last season. But the Quakers could not redeem themselves against their city rival. While Penn's sabre and epee squads pulled out tight wins at 5-4 and 6-3, respectively, the foilists could only manage to post one win, as Temple pulled out a narrow 15-12 victory. "Everyone lost bouts that we should have won," Penn captain Mindy Nguyen said. "It was really disappointing." Perhaps it was this lost opportunity that helped get the Quakers fired up for Princeton, the reigning Ivy League champions and reigning two-time ITA champions. Or maybe it was just the simple fact that it was Princeton. "I knew that in order to do well against Princeton, I had to change my mentality completely," sophomore foilist Lauren Staudinger said. "Against a team like Princeton, you want confidence. If you go in scared, it's going to be problematic." The Quakers certainly did not go in scared, and pulled off a 15-12 upset over the Tigers. Penn's sabre squad set the tone for the match. Nguyen and sophomore Christina Verigan each swept all three of their bouts, propelling the sabres to an 8-1 record against the Tigers. "The energy level was up, and Christina [Verigan] went in and rocked it," Nguyen said. "We were on fire, that's all I can say. I've never fenced that way in my whole life." The epee squad's five wins together with the two foil wins were enough to give the Quakers the edge overall. "As the match progressed, they believed in themselves more and more," Penn coach Dave Micahnik said. "We were leading 10-8 going into the third round, and we got stronger and stronger as Princeton got weaker. The emotional high was spectacular." As if the thrill of victory wasn't enough on its own, it was all the more special because it meant that the Quakers would be the first recipients of the Coaches' Trophy. The inaugural trophy is to be passed between the Penn and Princeton women's fencing squads "in recognition of the rivalry, mutual respect, [and] sportsmanship that are embodied in the annual event." "We all knew that there was going to be that trophy, and I wanted it so bad," Nguyen said. "This win was huge for us," she added. "It really proves how good we can be."

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