The highly favored US women’s sabre team fell in their semi-final match to the Ukraine 45-39 during the morning fencing session. The US will face France for the bronze medal match in the first match of the evening.

{sidebar id=1}Sada Jacobson started the match off strong for the US with a 5-2 trouncing of Khomrova. Mariel Zagunis would hold onto a slim lead (10-9) after the second match, but the Ukraine team edged ahead 15-14 against Becca Ward.

Ward had been suffering from flu like symptoms and was noticeably off of her game. Yesterday US epee fencer Kelley Hurley also suffered from a stomach bug the night before her opening round match.

With the score 20-18 for the Ukraine, Jacobson would put the US back ahead 25-24 as she went 7-3 in her match vs. Halyna Pundyk. That would be the last US lead of the match as Ukrainian star Olga Kharlan would take the next two touches to put the Ukraine ahead and score another 4 points in her bout to put the US down 27-30.

Jacobson entered the last bout with the US team down 35-40 and all hopes for gold pinned on her. Sensing victory, Kharlan pounced, putting the Ukraine up 37-40 before Jacobson found her footing and reeled off four straight touches. The rally would end, however, as Kharlan adjusted and put the match away 45-39.

Expectations were high for the US squad, who earlier had earned an historic sweep of the individual sabre medals. Gold medalist Mariel Zagunis reflected on the difficulty of fencing the team events "I think for us today it’s just hard coming off the individual competition. You fence so hard and you only have so many days later. It’s tough."

"We are going to go try to regroup and hopefully pull ourselves together before the next match" said Rebecca Ward. The US team will face France for the bronze medal and the Ukraine will face China for the gold.