By Andrew Glover
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Oklahoma State University women’s tennis team gained confidence with a second-place finish at the Big 12 Tournament. At 11 a.m. Saturday, the Cowgirls hope to use that confidence when they face Long Beach State in the NCAA tournament in Los Angeles.
“It was a great motivator for the team,” OSU coach Chris Young said. “It showed our team can play with anybody in the country. Baylor has been a dominating top 10 program for the last several years. It’s been a benchmark for other teams in the league.”
The 49ers (21-3) won the Big West Championship, losing only two matches the entire tournament. Young said they will definitely be a tough opponent.
“(Long Beach State) knows how to win,” Young said. “They’ve won a lot of close matches. They haven’t lost in two months so I’m sure they are very confident going in. They’ve been to multiple NCAA tournaments, so it’s nothing new for them. ... Their doubles is good, so it will be really important for us to get that doubles point and rely on the depth all throughout our lineup.”
Oklahoma State (15-8) beat TCU 4-2 and Baylor 4-3, which it lost to earlier in the season. The victory over Baylor was the Cowgirls’ first over the Bears in 12 years. No. 6 singles player Karyn Guttormsen earned the clinching victory in three sets.
“That was a big win for her,” Young said. “She lost to the girl when we played before. We knew Baylor was going to put the same girl against her. Karyn lost the first set in a tiebreaker and it would have been easy for her to feel like it wasn’t her day. So she rebounded and put up a good second set and was up 5-1 in the third set. It should definitely give her some confidence.”
The Cowgirls fell to Texas in the championship.
Oklahoma State is also sending an individual doubles team as Malika Rose and Kanyapat Narattana received an at-large bid. Young said they are deserving.
“They started off ranked really high in the preseason and knew they had a chance if they played well throughout the season,” Young said. “We haven’t had a singles or doubles player since I’ve been here. ... They beat the number three team in the country and that should give them confidence that they can compete against anybody.”
If the Cowgirls win they will likely face No. 7 UCLA. Young said he hopes his squad will have that shot.