skip navigation

Mariel Zagunis Wins Silver, Team USA Defeats Russia for Bronze

02/24/2015, 8:30pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.) won her third individual medal of the season on Sunday when she took silver at the Gent Saber World Cup in Belgium.

Zagunis, who retains her No. 2 world ranking, defeated 2009 Senior World Team member Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.), 15-9, and Olena Prokuda (UKR), 15-13, to advance to the table of 16 where she took an 8-3 lead against Rajin Lee (KOR) after the first period and closed out the bout, 15-9.

In the quarter-finals, Zagunis fenced Saoussen Boudiaf (FRA) – the 2012 Junior World medalist who won silver in the team event at her second Senior Worlds last summer. Boudiaf gave Zagunis a good fight with neither athlete taking more than a one-touch lead for most of the bout. With the score tied at 12, however, Zagunis rattled off three straight to win the bout, 15-12.

Zagunis’s semifinal opponent would be 2014 Junior World Champion Anna Marton (HUN). The 19-year-old Hungarian defeated 2014 Senior World Team Champion Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.), 15-11, in the table of 32 and was ready to win her first Senior World Cup medal after placing in the top-eight for the first time on the circuit last month in Athens. Marton continued her outstanding run with a an 8-5 lead over Zagunis at the break. Zagunis outscored the teenager, 5-2, at the start of the second period to tie the bout at 10 and ended the period with two straight for a 15-14 victory.

Zagunis’s gold medal final bout would be a rematch of two previous semifinals on the international circuit this season against 2012 Olympic silver medalist Sofya Velikaya (RUS). Less than a year into her post-baby comeback, the Russian has had the best season of her career with four straight gold medal finals appearances coming into this weekend. Velikaya held just a two-touch lead at 8-6 going into the break and Zagunis kept the bout within two in the second before Velikaya went on a three-touch run to end the bout, 15-13.

Velikaya’s win moved her up to No. 3 in the world rankings behind Zagunis who is No. 2 with three medals in five events so far this season. World No. 1 Olga Kharlan (UKR) finished third after a 15-13 loss to Velikaya in the semis.

On Sunday, Zagunis fenced in the team event with Muhammad and their 2014 Senior World teammates Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.) and Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.) – each of whom earned top-32 results in the individual event.

After a bye into the table of 16, Team USA defeated Azerbaijan, 45-22, and, despite trailing Korea early in the quarters, Zagunis brought Team USA back to a tie and the Americans went on to win the match, 45-41.

Wozniak was injured during a fall in the semifinals against France and Stone came in as the replacement. France, who had trained with Team USA at INSEP in Paris earlier in the week, controlled the match for a 45-35 win.

Despite the loss of Team USA’s setup fencer, the ladies regrouped well and routed Russia, 45-30, in the bronze medal final.

Following Team USA’s fourth podium finish of the season, the Americans remain No. 1 in the world rankings – 40 points ahead of Russia and nearly 100 ahead of third-ranked France.

Gent Individual Saber World Cup
1. Sofya Velikaya (RUS)
2. Mariel Zagunis (Beaverton, Ore.)
3. Anna Marton (HUN)
3. Olga Kharlan (UKR)
5. Jiyeon Kim (KOR)
6. Sabina Mikina (AZE)
7. Saoussen Boudiaf (FRA)
8. Anna Varhelyi (HUN)

18. Dagmara Wozniak (Avenel, N.J.)
20. Eliza Stone (Chicago, Ill.)
21. Ibtihaj Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
47. Loweye Diedro (New York City, N.Y.)
58. Daria Schneider (New York City, N.Y.)
61. Kamali Thompson (Teaneck, N.J.)
64. Monica Aksamit (Matawan, N.J.)
75. Aziza Hassan (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
85. Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.)
91. Faizah Muhammad (Maplewood, N.J.)
153. Avery Youngblood (Dallas, Texas)

Gent Team Saber World Cup
1. Italy
2. France
3. USA
4. Russia
5. Korea
6. Poland
7. Spain
8. Germany

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