Cowgirl tennis narrowly defeats Miami to advance in NCAA tournament

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OSU player Katarina Stresnakova hugs Marina Guinart after the latter clinches the deciding victory during the Oklahoma State vs. Miami (FL) women's tennis match in the second round of the NCAA Stillwater Regional on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center in Stillwater.

With an even score on the afternoon and the potential for their season to be over, the Cowgirls were right where they wanted to be. 

Marina Guinart, a senior on the Oklahoma State women's tennis team, was battling in a winner-takes-all singles match against Miami’s Yuna Ito, who had rallied back into the second set to keep the result in doubt. Guinart explained what she was thinking in the critical moments of the match.

“I mean there obviously is pressure, but I believe in myself,” Guinart said. “They believed in me too. Coach came to my court and he was like ‘I like that you are being the last one here’. I think I had pressure, but she had it too and we work for that. We practice every week for that.”

The Cowgirls would outlast No. 19 Miami (19-8, 9-5 ACC) 4-3 at Greenwood Tennis Center Friday night.

Guinart controlled the final points to clinch the Cowgirls (21-7, 7-1 Big 12) a place in the Round of 16 in the NCAA tennis tournament. Fellow OSU senior Sofia Blanco explained what she was feeling when it came down to Guinart’s match.

 “I was so nervous outside,” Blanco said. “Also you are tired after the match, like you don’t get the chance to stretch, but the adrenaline that you have watching those players play makes you keep going and fighting and screaming, trying to cheer and trying to make the difference from outside. It’s really fun to watch, but you get so nervous when you are outside.” 

Blanco said she was also confident that Guinart would get the job done. 

“When I saw Marina on the court, I was relaxed,” Blanco said. “She is the player you want playing in those tough moments because she is a really tough opponent to beat. And whenever she won there, I couldn’t be happier for her and for the team.”

The Cowgirls started the afternoon off with a competitive doubles point that saw Bunyawi Thamchaiwat and Tamara Arnold clinch the pivotal point. Thamchaiwat would then go on to control her singles match against Miami’s Daniella Roldan, sweeping the Cane 6-0, 6-0.

OSU coach Chris Young was complementary of the value Thamchaiwat has brought the Cowgirls this season.

“I think our seniors have meant a lot to our program,” Young said. But adding Bunyawi in January, I knew (that) was going to be the most important thing for our program. To get someone like her to come in and to spend a lot of time trying to convince her to be a Cowgirl. And now we’re so glad that she did because we couldn’t be in this position without her.”

The Cowgirls will advance to play the winner of North Carolina and Oklahoma in the Round of 16 next weekend.

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