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Team USA Earns Silver Medal in Women's Foil at Junior Worlds

04/04/2011, 8:23am CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Amman, Jordan) – The U.S. women earned a silver medal in the team foil competition at the Junior World Championships on Monday – the second time Team USA has earned a medal in the event during the past three years.

Led by two veterans of the 2009 U.S. team that won gold – Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) – the Americans came into the event as favorites to advance to the finals after Prescod, Kiefer and Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.) won gold, silver and bronze, respectively, in the individual event on Thursday.

As expected, Team USA advanced to the finals after three preliminary round wins.

In the table of 16, Prescod, Kiefer, Lu and Jacqueline Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.) gave up just four touches against Qatar to win the bout, 45-4.

Team USA then defeated Poland in the quarter-finals, 43-32, with Prescod leading the squad with an indicator of nine touches as both the first and last fencer to compete in the lineup.

With one bout needed to advance to the semifinals, Team USA more than doubled Germany’s score, 45-22 with Prescod earning a 12-touch indicator, including six touches in the fifth match that took the bout from 19-9 to 25-10. Lu and Kiefer also made significant contributions to the victory with seven and four-touch indicators.

On the opposite side of the draw, Italy won bouts against Russia and the Ukraine to advance to the finals where the four-person team fenced for the first medal of the Junior Worlds after being shut out of the podium in individual competition.

Italy took a quick lead in the bout against Team USA.

“The Italians started out a little sharper than we did,” said Coach Sean McClain (New York City, N.Y.) “They got out to a big lead and any time a team gets a lead like that it’s really hard to come from behind. But the girls were actually a little bit angry by that point and they started to fence better because of it.”

Italy led 30-24, but Lu came in during for the seventh bout to score four touches and close the gap to 33-28.

“You always have to be aware in the team event of where you are in the bout, what the score is and how much time there is left, but it’s not about ‘Oh we’re down. I’ve gotta run.’ It’s more about doing what you want to do and the touches will come,” Lu said.

In the eighth of nine matches, Kiefer brought Team USA into the lead for the first time during the bout, scoring twelve points to increase the score to 40-39.

Kiefer agreed that she doesn’t focus on the score during the match.

“When you fence you don’t really think about the score, you just kind of do it,” she said.

Throughout the match, Coach Khazbak Amgad (Lexington, Ky.) called for Kiefer to line up.

“The other girl tried to make Lee outside, so I tried to get Lee to line up with the other girl to have better tactic and better technique,” he said.

In the final match, Prescod, increased the lead to 43-41, but two-time Junior World medalist Alice Volpi (ITA) scored the next four touches to win the bout, 45-43.

Prescod admitted that serving as the team anchor can be a stressful experience.

“It’s scary. I think it’s more scary than individual,” she said. “We compete together all the time, but it’s still scary because you don’t have as much time to make up what you lost because you only have three minutes.”

The loss in the final meant Team USA won the silver medal – the seventh medal so far for the U.S. Team at the Junior and Cadet World Championships.

“I think if we all had been fencing well the last bout we could have beat them because we’ve beaten them before, but I’m proud of my teammates today,” said Kiefer after winning her third silver medal of the past week, including second place finishes in the cadet and junior individual events.

As a first-time Junior World Team member, Dubrovich said she learned a great deal from her first Junior World Team event.

“You fence these girls individually all the time, but it’s good to see how they come together as a team because it’s a different format and a different feeling, but it was good to get used to it,” Dubrovich said. “It was amazing to see the level of fencing and the level of strategy.”

The U.S. men’s saber team also competed on Monday, but lost in the opening round to France.

Team USA, including Evan Prochniak (Hudson, N.H.), Sean Buckley (Secaucus, N.J.) and Will Spear (Wyantskill, N.Y.), exchanged touches throughout most of the bout with France, ultimately earning a 40-37 lead.

In the final period, Prochniak was outstcored by Emmanuel Gans (FRA) who allowed Prochniak only one touch before leading France to the win, 45-41.

As there are no loser’s pools at the Junior World Championships, Prochniak, Buckley, Speak and teammate Rhys Douglas (Apache Junction, Ariz.) were eliminated from further competition and placed ninth overall.

Competition continues on Tuesday with the men’s epee and women’s saber team events. Athletes scheduled to compete include:

Junior Women’s Team Saber
Lian Osier (Battle Ground, Wash.)
Skyla Powers (Atlanta, Ga.)
Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.)
Celina Merza (Wayne, N.J.)

Junior Men’s Team Epee
James Kaull (Washington, D.C.)
Michael Raynis (Chatsworth, Calif.)
Edward Kelley (San Antonio, Texas)
Alexander Eldeib (Burke, Va.)

Top-eight and U.S. results are as follows:

Junior Men’s Team Saber
1. Germany
2. Italy
3. Russia
4. Hungary
5. Spain
6. Ukraine
7. China
8. France

9. USA

Junior Women’s Team Foil
1. Italy
2. USA
3. Russia
4. Germany
5. China
6. Ukraine
7. Poland
8. Korea

Tag(s): News  Lee Kiefer