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Team USA Wins Women’s Foil Silver at Junior Worlds

04/09/2015, 5:00pm CDT
By Nicole Jomantas

The U.S. Women's Foil Team on the podium. Photo Credit: Serge Timacheff / FIE /

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Team USA, the defending Junior Worlds Champions, advanced to the gold medal final for the fifth straight year in the women’s foil event in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on Wednesday.

Anchored by two-time Senior World Team member Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.), the squad of Sara Taffel (New York City, N.Y.), Iman Blow (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Morgan Partridge (Swansea, Mass.) faced Romania in the quarter-finals after advancing through the early rounds on Monday.

Romania held a two-touch lead at 9-7 after the first two bouts, but Taffel, who won gold in the individual event on Sunday, outscored Junior World No. 1 Malina Calugareanu, 4-2, to tie the bout at 11. Blow kept the score tied at 13 after the fourth bout against Ana Boldor and Taffel outscored Maria Boldor, 5-3, to give the Americans the lead for the first time at 18-16. Massialas shut out Calugareanu, 6-0, to put the score at 24-16 and Taffel held Team USA’s lead at 24-19 after her seventh period bout against Ana Boldor. Blow gave the Americans their third win over Calugareanu in the eighth for a 30-23 score and Massialas closed out at 33-24 against Maria Boldor.

The semifinals would be a rematch of last year’s gold medal final against Russia.  Team USA held a lead from the start against Russia and won or tied five of the first eight bouts with both Massialas and Blow posting wins over Junior World No. 2 Oksana Pogrebniak who would be subbed out before the third rotation. With a 38-33 lead going into the final bout, Massialas closed out against Kristina Samsonova and won the match, 45-38, to send Team USA into the finals against Italy.

In the finals, Italy controlled much of the match with a 30-25 lead after the sixth period. Blow cut the Italians’ lead to four touches after the seventh bout where she edged Camilla Rivano, 3-2. Taffel split touches with Elisabetta Bianchin at 4-4, but Italy retained a 36-32 lead after eight bouts. In the anchor bout, Massialas fenced 2013 Cadet World medalist Erica Cipressa after defeating Cipressa in the table of 32 in the individual event. Massialas scored four straight to tie the match at 36 and send the match into overtime. Ten seconds into the overtime period, both lights went on and Massialas and Cipressa each celebrated the touch, but the score was called off and the bout resumed. Twelve seconds later, Cipressa put up a single light to give Italy the win, 37-36.

Team USA’s silver medal win is the sixth podium finish in the last seven years for the women’s foil squad.

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Women’s Saber Team took the strip as the reigning Junior World bronze medalists.

Following her individual bronze medal on Monday, Sage Palmedo (Portland, Ore.) was joined in the quarters by Francesca Russo (Wayne, N.J.) who won bronze in the team event in 2014 and gold in 2013 as well as first-time Junior World Team members Regina O’Brien (Wellesley, Mass.) and Violet Michel (Cambridge, Mass.) Team USA struggled early against Italy in the quarters and never managed to readjust as Italy controlled the match for a 40-34 lead going into the anchor bout between Palmedo and Sofia Ciaraglia. Palmedo put up three touches before Italy took the match, 45-37. The Italians would go on to win gold in the event for the first time since 2011.  

In the 5th – 8th place table, Team USA led Mexico, 40-30, after the first eight bouts, but Tania Arrayales mounted a comeback against Russo in the anchor bout and closed the match with a 45-44 win for Mexico.

Team USA fenced Germany in the match for seventh place where Palmedo returned to the anchor position with Germany up by two at 40-38. Palmedo outscored Judith Kusian, 6-5, but fell short of the win at 45-44.

The men’s epee team event also was contested, but Team USA did not fence in the quarter-finals after placing 16th on Monday.

Click here to view complete women’s team foil results.

Click here to view complete women’s team saber results.

Click here to view complete men’s team epee results.

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

Junior Worlds Women’s Team Foil Championships
1. Italy
2. USA
3. Poland
4. Russia
5. Romania
6. Hungary
7. Japan
8. Germany

Junior Women’s Team Saber World Championships
1. Italy
2. Russia
3. Hungary
4. France
5. China
6. Mexico
7. Germany
8. USA

Junior Men’s Team Epee World Championships
1. Germany
2. France
3. Hungary
4. Spain
5. Ukraine
6. Italy
7. Russia
8. Poland 

Tag(s): News  Sabrina Massialas  Sage Palmedo