Sounds of weapons hitting one another, cheers and school chants filled the Multi-Sport Indoor Facility during day two of the women’s fencing championships.
The women’s epee national champion was crowned to Catherine Nixon from Princeton who defeated Veronica Zuikova from St. John’s. Iman Blow representing Columbia won the women’s foil in a close bout against Notre Dame’s Sabrina Massialas. For women’s sabre, Princeton’s Maia Chamberlain was crowned the National Champion after upsetting Penn State’s Zara Moss.
The final four format is three rounds of three minutes or first to 15 touches except for sabre, where there is only one period and first to 15 wins.
Both Penn State’s women sabre’s had the chance to potentially be the next NCAA Champion. Freshman Moss was ranked first, Notre Dame’s Francesca Russo was ranked second and Princeton’s Maia Chamberlain was ranked third. After a thrilling win over yesterday’s number one Karolina Cieslar from St. John’s earlier today, Penn State's Karen Chang placed fourth.
In the first round of sabre, teammates Moss and Chang competed against each other. As Moss and Chang stepped up to the strip all Penn State fans made their presence known cheering on the home fencers.
Moss kept Chang scoreless until Chang scored to make the score 9-1. No freshman jitters were shown by Moss after a commanding win over her upperclassman teammate with a score of 15-3.
Representing Notre Dame, Francesca Russo fenced number three Chamberlain from Princeton. From the beginning, no more than two points separated the two fencers till Chamberlain started to pull away at 8-11. Chamberlain won 12-15 in a close fought bout that followed a dominating performance by Moss in the round before.
There was no shortage of excitement surrounding the championship bout as the crowd had high energy. Moss found herself down by three at the first time out. With each touch came a scream of excitement and intensity. One win away from a national championship, Moss had to find a way to come back and prevent an upset, but after a video review of the last point, Chamberlain got her title with a final score of 15-11. St. John’s fans cheered and Chamberlain's team came out and threw their champion in the air.
Freshman Lodovica Bicego was one spot short of qualifying for the final four in women’s foil. The top four foil fencers were each members of Notre Dame or Columbia. Isabella Zuzulo finished 13th, dropping one spot from yesterday.
Ranked first in women’s foil was Blow from Columbia, who fenced teammate Sylvie Binder. Blow reached 15 in the first period from aggressive play by both. Also teammates from Notre Dame, number two Elyssa Kleiner fenced number three Massialas. Massialas was able to reach 15 in the second period.
Through two periods Massialas and Blow stayed tied or were only separated by one point. After two periods of play, the score was 10-9 in favor of Massialas. Blow came back and tied it with a little over two minutes left and kept that momentum going into the final two minutes.With tears running down Blow’s face, she was rushed by her teammates on the strip to celebrate.
Penn State’s Barabara Vanbenthuysen and Anastasia Kalonji were not able to find their way into the final four for epee. Vanbenthuysen finished eighth and Kalonji finished right behind her in ninth.
No. 1 Amanda Sirico from Harvard took on No. 4 Veronica Zuikova from St. John’s. Fighting back from being down for the majority of the bout, Zuikova upset No.1 Sirico, 13-12 in extra time.
No. 2 Nixon represented Princeton who competed against No. 3 Cindy Gao from Harvard. The longer and taller Nixon proved to be too much for Gao. Nixon won 15-7 in the second period punching her ticket for the finals against Zuikova.
Cautious fencing by both competitors made the first two periods quiet and with little action. With 18 seconds left Zuikova pulled within two points. At 13 seconds left Nixon only needed one point for the title. After getting her 15th point, her team ran up to the strip to celebrate with Nixon.