STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - This past Saturday, January 17th, the Haverford women's fencing team travelled to State College, for the Penn State Invitational. Haverford was the sole Division III program competing against opposing teams awash in Olympic Team members and All-Americans.
The Fords opened up against local rival University of Pennsylvania, which showed off its national prowess in a blanking of the Fords, 27-0. Freshman foilist Alexandra Morrison led all Haverford fencers with seven touches scored over three bouts.
The next opponent was stronger on paper, but the No. 5 ranked Temple Owls dropped two bouts, one to junior co-captain Julianna Petersen, and the other to sophomore sabriste Sophia Tieze, who continues to improve at a steady rate.
In the third round, the Fords faced off against the Tar Heels of North Carolina and picked up eight bouts against them. Haverford's Morrison went 2-1 in the foil; Petersen, Tieze, sabriste Leslie Tjing, and co-captain Jessica Poling each picked up one, and freshman walk-on Rachel Wolfe pulled an amazing 5-3 upset over UNC's Sarah Flinn in the epee.
Next up were defending Ivy League Champions, and favorites to win the 2015 NCAA Division I title, the Lions of Columbia. No quarter was offered and none taken as the Fords scratched six bouts off the Lions. Two of those bouts again came from Morrison, two from Petersen, while Tieze and Poling contributed one apiece. Epeeist Alexis Auer dropped all three of her bouts by only one touch, 5-4, in a hard-fought display.
Taking on the host Nittany Lions in the last round, the Fords took five bouts from the defending national champions. In the first round, Poling ripped a 5-0 win in the opening foil bout, Auer did the same in the opening epee bout, and Tjing dropped a controversial 5-4 decision in the sabre. A quick line-up change ensured the Penn State victory, but that didn't prevent Petersen and Tieze from contributing wins to the Ford's tally.
Epeeist Petersen led all Haverford fencers on the day with six bouts, while Morrison and Tieze led the foilists and sabrists, respectively, with four apiece. The Fords showed their potential for improvement in the fact that they took 24 of the bouts on the day to four-all.
The Fords will have another shot at Penn when the Quakers host the Philadelphia Invitational next weekend.
Penn def. Haverford, 27–0
Temple def. Haverford, 25–2
North Carolina def. Haverford, 20–7
Columbia def Haverford, 21-6
Penn State def Haverford, 22-5