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U.S. Women’s Saber Team Wins Third Straight Senior World Bronze

08/12/2013, 8:45pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

(Budapest, Hungary) -- The U.S. Women’s Saber Team added another international medal to its history of podium finishes on Monday when Team USA claimed the bronze medal for the third time in as many years and the seventh Senior World Championships medal for the team since women’s saber was added to the program.

After a bye into the table of 16, the third seeded Americans defeated Belarus, 45-20. In the quarter-finals, Team USA defeated Azerbaijan, 45-33, in a rematch of their 2011 Senior World bronze medal final.

Trailing Russia – the three-time reigning Senior World Champions – by 12 touches, Mariel Zagunis faced Ekaterina Dyachenko in the anchor bout. Zagunis tied Dyachenko at five, but it wasn’t enough to cut Russia’s lead and Team USA’s rivals would go on to the gold medal match after the 45-33 victory.

“We had a rough start against Russia and, unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep up with them in the match even though we beat them the last time we fenced them in Chicago,” Zagunis said.

In the bronze medal match, Team USA fenced Russia and London Olympian Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) and Zagunis combined to shut out Italy by a score of 10-0.

Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.), a first-time Senior World Team member and 2013 Pan Am silver medalist, struggled in the third bout against Rossella Gregorio, but Wozniak, Zagunis and Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.) quickly brought the lead back to the Americans and Zagunis anchored against Senior World individual medalist Irene Vecchi to close out the match, 45-30.

“With Italy we knew we’d fenced them many times before. We’ve beaten them many times before. So we just told ourselves that we have to push through. Three bouts each. We knew we could do it if we fenced hard and strong. We just went in and focused on our individual bouts and it turns out we were able to pull away twice,” Wozniak said.

Zagunis said she was proud both of how the team fenced as well as how quickly they rebounded from the loss to Russia.

 “I think for the most part we all fenced really well. We pulled it back together and refocused ourselves after the loss to Russia so we could fence really well against Italy and I’m happy we’re going to come home with a bronze medal,” Wozniak said.

Fencing in her third Senior World bronze medal final in as many years, Muhammad noted that she felt at home on the finals strip.

“I was super comfortable. I think this is the strongest we’ve felt and I know that we were hoping to get a gold medal today and, even though it didn’t happen, I felt really comfortable on the strip. I think our goal as a team is to keep that momentum going. We’re coming off a gold medal in Chicago and we’ve seen ourselves fence very well over the years so I think this is a well-deserved medal,” Muhammad said.

Wozniak noted that regrouping from a loss is something teams often struggle with, but that the squad was able to come together and bring home a medal and that ability will help them as they prepare for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

“I was pretty disappointed in how I performed against Russia. I could have helped the team out a little bit better, so I’m disappointed in that, but I think the important part is that as a team we were able to regroup. As a team we went into the next match and said not to be upset that we lost and just get ready for the next one,” Wozniak said. “At this point, ever since I competed at the Olympics, I’ve been very confident in the team that’s going to go to Rio. You just to keep the same mentality. A medal’s a medal and you can’t just be upset at the first loss. You have to pick yourself back up and finish it.”

Fencing at her first Senior World Championships was an overwhelming experience for Stone who won silver on a much smaller stage in Cartagena this summer.

“Coming in, I was warned that it would be very different from the other tournaments – very different from the other World Cups I’ve been to this year. It rattled me, admittedly, but I’m proud that I’m on this team and that we took bronze.  I’m glad I was here, even though it didn’t go how I wanted it to. I’m just glad that my teammates are so solid and strong and can pick up any problem there was on the team and keep it going,” Stone said.

For complete results, visit

Top eight and results are as follows:

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

Tag(s): News  Ibtihaj Muhammad  Dagmara Wozniak  Mariel Zagunis  Eliza Stone