By Karen Price | May 06, 2018, 12:25 p.m. (ET)
The U.S. women's epee fencing team reacts to winning gold over No. 2 Russia at the FIE world cup on May 6, 2018 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

 

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.