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Team USA Places Sixth in Women’s Saber

07/31/2021, 1:15am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

Team USA's Francesca Russo, Mariel Zagunis, Dagmara Wozniak and Eliza Stone. Photo Credit: #BizziTeam.

(Tokyo) – The U.S. Women’s Saber Team missed the podium on Saturday after a quarter-final loss at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Americans opened the day with a quarter-final match against France — a team highlighted by three of the four fencers who won gold at the 2018 Senior World Championships and silver in 2019.

Team USA stayed within a touch for the first rotation, holding France’s lead to 15-14 after the third bout.

Rio Olympic team bronze medalist Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J. / Manhattan Fencing Center / St. John’s) split the seventh against  two-time individual Senior World medalist Cecilia Berder at five, but France continued its run through the final bout with two-time Olympic Champion Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore. / Oregon Fencing Alliance) anchoring as Berder sealed the 45-30 win for France.

Fencing China In the first opening match of the 5th - 8th place table, Zagunis and first-time Olympian Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill. / Bergen Fencing Club / Princeton) finished with +6 and +5 indicators, respectively as Team USA took the win, 45-35.

In the match for fifth place, Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J. / Bergen Fencing Club / Notre Dame) came in for the first time, earning her Olympian status with three bouts. Zagunis led the squad with a +13 indicator, including an 11-4 win in the sixth against Norika Tamura to give Team USA a 30-29 lead. By the anchor leg, however, Japan had mounted a comeback, and led the Americans, 40-37. Zagunis went on a 6-2 run against two-time individual World Cup medalist Misaki Emura to put Team USA up, 43-42, but Emura scored three straight to close the bout, 45-43.  

“It was a hard road to get here, but none of us gave up ever and that’s what I’m proud of, me and my team, every step of this way,” Stone said.

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