Breaking Down the Film: Junior Olympics JWE Semi-Final—Nina Sirico vs. Jennifer Horowitz

Period 1: Horowitz begins the bout pushing Sirico aggressively, preparing 6/8 feints. Ends with 1-1 double.  Sirico responds by moving in and out of the distance in the middle of the strip, trying a non-committal low-line preparation to test Horowitz’s reaction. Sirico allows Horowitz to respond by pushing her. Sirico responds with a perfectly timed low line attack into Horowitz’s advance, where, as you can see from the image below, Sirico finishes her lunge by the time Horowitz’s front foot hits the ground. Marquis, perfect action. 2-1 Sirico.

Sirico1

Horowitz comes off the line once again aggressively, advancing one step at a time. What’s interesting here, is Sirico decides to shift to the left side of the strip while Horowitz hangs on the right. Sirico attempts the same low line lunge as the last touch, attempting to angulate to the side of Horowitz’s arm in preparation. She misses the first action and doubles out on the remise. 3-2. Sirico widens the distance to allow more space for preparation, and it pays off. She comes in with a beautiful squat down under the wrist shot in preparation, taking a 4-2 lead.

Sirico2

Again, aggressive advances from Horowitz. Sirico attempts another squat down counter and misses. Realizing she’s in distance, she attempts another low line lunge to Horowitz, who meets her with a well-timed counter-attack. 4-3 Sirico. Horowitz decides to not only pressure Sirico, but to move back out of the distance this go-round. Horowitz begins an explosive attack but is met by a strong 8 from Sirico who is ready for the action. 5-3. Another low line lunge into Horowitz’s advance, but Horowitz manages to squeak in the counter for a double. 6-4. Same action, another double. 7-5. Horowitz once again pushes Sirico, who shows parry in 8. Horowitz launches explosive fleche and is met with Sirico’s 4, but pushes through to get a single light. 6-5 Sirico.

  Sirico3

To this point, Sirico had allowed Horowitz to push, but decides to take the bout to Horowitz. Another low line lunge with well-timed acceleration, and Sirico goes up 8-6. Horowitz comes off fast, and within three seconds of preparing in 6, she does a quick low line fleche into Sirico’s advance for a single light. 8-7. A little playing in the middle of the strip, and Sirico says “What’s my go-to? Oh yeah. It’s my low line lunge into Horowitz’s advance.” Single light. 9-7. Horowitz begins to prepare in 6 again, but is met with a fast beat 4 coupe to the inside of her wrist. Single light for Sirico, 10-7, for the largest lead of the bout so far. You’ll never get what Sirico does next. You ready? You ready? Ok, if you guessed low-line lunge into Horowitz’s preparation, than the price is right. She catches Horowitz preparing in 6 with her arm just a little too far back. Single light. 11-7.

 Sirico4

Sirico comes forward perhaps too aggressively and without enough preparation and pulls her arm back too far in 8, allowing Horowitz to get a quick riposte for a single light. 11-8. As Sirico sets up her marquis low line lunge, Horowitz is ready this time with a big retreat and uses her longer arm to counter Sirico for another single light. 11-9. Sirico begins doing something funky with her arms as she walks back to her line, but it’s not “The Funky Chicken.” Sirico pushes and does the “Polynesian arm jerk” preparation. But then says “I’m gonna just let the clock run and chill.”

Period 2: Again, pushing, pushing from Horowitz. Sirico knows the fleche is going to come so keeps a slightly wider distance. Sure enough the fleche comes. No action. Sirico is confined in her 2 meter zone with little option here. Did I say little option? I meant…

 Sirico5

Single light. 12-9. Ready, fence…and Sirico tries to catch Horowitz by surprised with a quick fleche. She’s ready for it. Single light for Horowitz on counter attack. 12-10. More pushing in 6 from Horowitz to set up the fleche. And…guess what Sirico does? 13-10 Sirico. Push push push. Infighting. Horowitz stops for a moment, looks at the lights and Sirico is like “CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY.” 14-10. The last touch is what you thought it would be. A low line lunge into Horowitz’s advance. Single light. 15-10.

Overall: Horowitz chose to move forward on 90% of the sequences in this bout. Rather than move in and out of the distance and use the whole length of the strip to her advantage, she only pushed forward; thus, Sirico was able to hit Horowitz into her advance like it was her job. Where Sirico could have benefited more is by pushing Horowitz, which she only did on about 2-3 sequences in the bout. Was it necessary to do so? Not with Sirico’s low line lunge into preparation working so well. Horowitz, incidentally would  go on to win cadets. Both of these athletes have many years left in juniors. Both have very high ceilings, limitless potential for talent, and when they meet next, it will be an even more entertaining battle.

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