By Karen Price | July 22, 2019, 11:59 a.m. (ET)

The U.S. women's foil fencing team poses for a photo after winning bronze at the 2019 FIE World Championships on July 22, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. 

 

It was a fight, but one the U.S. women’s foil fencing team happily accepted as they overcame a deficit against France to win the bronze medal Monday at the FIE World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

It all came down to a thrilling anchor bout between the top fencers from each nation, Lee Kiefer from the second-ranked Team USA and Ysaora Thibus from top-ranked France. With the U.S. trailing by two points going into the last leg, the two-time Olympian was smart, methodical and went on the attack for a 7-3 victory over Thibus that landed the U.S. its first medal of these world championships with a 45-43 match win.

It is the third team foil world championship medal for the U.S. women in as many years, to go along with gold in 2018 and silver in 2017.

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The U.S. trailed by as many as five points as the team approached the midway point of the match. Two-time Olympian Nzingha Prescod won her bout against Thibus, 7-5, to get the U.S. within three points. That brought Kiefer to the piste to face Pauline Ranvier and she fought her way to an 8-4 win that gave the U.S. its first lead of the match, 30-29. Prescod opened up a 35-31 lead with her win over Anita Blaze, but things got interesting after Ranvier earned a 9-3 win over 2012 Olympian Nicole Ross to put France ahead once again.

Kiefer got the first point of the final match and although Thibus would tie her twice and got France within two points of the target total of 45, Kiefer scored the final four points for the victory.

At the beginning of the year, the U.S. women took over the No. 1 ranking in the world for the first time ever after winning silver at the world cup stop in Katowice, Poland. They followed that up with three fourth-place results in world cup competition.

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.