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TORONTO -- The U.S. men’s saber team’s last test in Toronto wasn’t going to be an easy one.
For the three athletes, which already secured an individual gold medal from Eli Dershwitz on Monday, the gold medal in the team event at the Pan American Games would come with a win against host Canada and a raucous crowd cheering against them.
Dershwitz, Daryl Homer and Jeff Spear took home gold, securing the 45-37 win. Canada finished with the silver and Argentina won bronze.
The Americans faced a talented Canadian squad, featuring Joseph Polossifakis, who Dershwitz faced for the gold earlier in the week.
To get to the match, the Americans quickly bested Chile and Argentina by scores of 45-24 and 45-25.
A match with Canada looming only heightened the team’s excitement.
"In most Pan American tournaments, we faced Canada,” Spear said before the gold-medal match. “We're going to bring the energy, no matter who we face (in the finals) and try and best the hometown team if that's what we can do."
The gold-medal match started off difficult for the Americans, who fell in a 15-10 hole after each fencer had gone once.
"The Canadians came out really strong with the crowd on their back,” Spear said, “so it took us a little while to get our feet under us.”
The Americans regained the lead in the second-to-last match, when Dershwitz faced Polossifakis in a rematch of the individual gold-medal final. Dershwitz again bested the Canadian, giving the Americans a 40-33 lead they would not relinquish.
“We came together as a team and fenced some great bouts,” Dershwitz said.
Homer finished off the last five hits for the Americans, giving Team USA the gold.
Dershwitz would lead the team with 18 hits, Homer with 14 and Spear with 13.
“We’ve had a very long season,” Homer said. “We’ve all had our ups and downs and it’s really good to end it with a gold.”
“That’s why we do this,” Spear said, handling his gold medal. “We’re out here to win gold for Team USA. And I’m so glad we did it.”