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Kiefer, Ross and Massialas Earn Top-16 Finishes at the Torino Foil Grand Prix

12/01/2015, 7:45pm CST
By Nicole Jomantas

Lee Kiefer (right) defeated Valentina Cipriani (ITA) in the table of 32. Photo Credit Augusto Bizzi Federscherma

(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – On a day in which only four nations put athletes into the top 16, Team USA boasted three finishers in the round of 16 at the Torino Women’s Foil Grand Prix in Italy on Saturday.

London Olympians Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) and Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) and two-time Senior World Team member Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.) finished ninth, 12th and 14th, respectively.

Exempt from pools, Kiefer fenced Charlotte Krause (GER) in the table of 64 on Saturday and scored nine unanswered touches in just under two minutes to open the bout. Krause picked up two touches to stay in the bout before Kiefer scored the final touch at the start of the second period to take a 15-2 win.

In the table of 32, Kiefer and Valentina Cipriani (ITA) exchanged touches, but it was Kiefer who pulled away first, going on a 5-2 run to take a 12-8 lead going into the start of the second period. Kiefer went on to take the bout, 15-10, in the second.

Kiefer fenced Adelina Zagidullina (RUS) in the table of 16. While Kiefer held a 9-6 lead midway through the bout, Zagidullina scored four straight to take a one-touch lead at the break. With the score tied at 11 in the second period, Zagidullina scored four of the next five touches to win the bout, 15-12.

Seeded 16th and exempt from the pool rounds, Ross controlled the opening period of her table of 64 bout against Fruzsina Golya (HUN) for a 9-3 lead that she grew to 13-6 in the second period. Golya fought back with a 5-1 run to close the gap to 14-11 as the clock wound down on the second period, but Ross scored first in the third for a 15-11 victory.

In the table of 32, Ross took on six-time Senior World medalist Aida Mohamed (HUN). After a conservative first period where Ross scored two touches to Mohamed’s one, Ross broke away in the second to take a 9-4 lead. She kept the pace up in the third, outscoring the Hungarian, 6-2, to win the bout, 15-6.

Ross fenced Leyla Pirieva (RUS) in the table of 16 following the Russian’s 15-9 upset of 2012 Olympic Champion Elisa Di Francisca (ITA) in the 32. Pirieva got off to a blazing start, scoring four straight, but Ross replied with a 5-1 run to cut the Russian’s lead to 6-5 by the end of the first period. Pirieva outscored Ross, 8-2, early in the second period to come within a touch of ending the bout with a score of 14-7. Ross scored five straight before Pirieva picked up another touch for a 15-12 win.

Massialas advanced through the preliminary tables on Friday and scored seven straight touches on Saturday in her table of 64 bout against 2014 Pan Am silver medalist Kelleigh Ryan (CAN) en route to winning her bout, 15-3.

Massialas drew her teammate, Madison Zeiss (Culver City, Calif.), in the table of 32. Massialas took a 3-1 lead at the break and the bout was sent to the third period when non-combattivity was called in the second. Although Massialas built a 6-3 lead, Zeiss tied the bout at six and the match went to overtime with a tied score at eight. Massialas earned priority, but the advantage wasn’t needed as she scored first to defeat Zeiss, 9-8.

In the table of 16, Massialas fenced 2012 Junior World Champion Alice Volpi (ITA) who was in the midst of a day that would turn out to be a career best on the senior circuit. Volpi held a 6-5 lead at the break, but controlled the second period as she went on to win both the bout, 15-10, and the gold medal.

Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.), a London Olympian and 2015 Senior World medalist, finished 33rd after a 15-14 loss to Elisa Vardaro (ITA) in the table of 64.

Despite the early loss, both Prescod and Kiefer continue to hold high positions in the Adjusted Olympic Rankings. With three international tournaments remaining in the qualifying process for women’s foil, Kiefer sits in fifth place and Prescod in seventh with the top 14 earning automatic berths to the Games. With a maximum of two athletes allotted per country Ross and Massialas remain within striking distance as well.

While Volpi came away with her first Grand Prix title, the 2016 Olympic qualification process has unofficially ended for Italy’s women’s foil fencers as 2012 Olympic Champion Elisa Di Francisca and London silver medalist Arianna Errigo have each secured enough qualification points to secure berths to the Rio Games. Most notably, Di Francisca and Errigo’s success since the start of the qualification period in April means that 41-year-old Valentina Vezzali is expected to miss the Games for the first time since 1996 when she won silver in individual and gold in team.

Click here to view complete results.

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

Torino Women’ Foil Grand Prix
1. Alice Volpi (ITA)
2. Inna Deriglazova (RUS)
3. Arianna Errigo (ITA)
3. Adelina Zaguidullina (RUS)
5. Ysaora Thibus (FRA)
6. Aida Shanaeva (RUS)
7. Yana Alborova (RUS)
8. Leyla Pirieva (RUS)

9. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
12. Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.)
14. Sabrina Massialas (San Francisco, Calif.)
32. Madison Zeiss (Culver City, Calif.)
33. Nzingha Prescod (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
78. Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.)
85. Margaret Lu (Greenwich, Conn.)
142. Stefani Deschner (Mechanicsville, Va.)

Tag(s): News  Lee Kiefer  Nzingha Prescod  Margaret Lu  Sabrina Massialas