Ranked eighth in the world, the U.S. women’s epee team of Katharine Holmes, Courtney Hurley, Kelley Hurley and Natalie Vie won its historic first-ever world cup gold medal on Sunday in Dubai.
Facing world No. 2 Russia in the final match, the U.S. led from the first bout in the 29-28 victory. It was as close as the score suggests, however, with the two teams trading back-and-forth victories that ended with the U.S. holding just a two-point lead going into the anchor bout between Holmes and two-time team world champion Violetta Kolobova. Kolobova came away with a 9-8 win in the highest-scoring bout of the match, but it wasn’t enough to overtake the Americans.
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The U.S. defeated reigning Olympic and world silver medalist China 41-33 in the quarterfinals and then toppled No. 5 France 42-36 in the semifinals. Team USA trailed France 16-9 after the first four matches, but closed the gap in the next two before Vie defeated Laurence Epee to give the U.S. a 23-22 lead. Kelley Hurley and Holmes closed the French out with a pair of victories.
All but Vie competed at the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Kelley Hurley is a three-time Olympian. She and Courtney were part of a team bronze at the 2012 Olympics. Holmes and the Hurleys, along with Amanda Sirico, won bronze at the Barcelona World Cup in February.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.