Catherine Gulihur gave two thumbs up.
During the break between singles and doubles play, Oklahoma State women’s tennis coach Chris Young asked Gulihur if she wanted to play the singles match. Gulihur, who was playing in a first match since returning from a wrist injury, accepted without any hesitation.
“I really didn’t know until directly after doubles,” Gulihur said. “(Young) went up to me and ask, ‘Hey, do you want to play singles” and I put two thumbs up, I’m great.”
Young was forced to make a last-minute change when sophomore Bunyawi Thamchaiwat suffered a minor injury during doubles play and was replaced as a precaution. Gulihur ended the match with an ace as OSU dominanted Kansas State 6-1 on Sunday at Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center.
“It’s so good, that’s the best feeling ever,” Gulihur said. “I stepped up at the line and I was like, ‘Okay, we are finishing up with an ace,’ then boom, aces. No better feeling I think for the entire game.”
Sunday’s match was the Cowgirls’ six consecutive victory and second against a Big 12 opponent. As OSU dominated the No. 10 and No. 33 ranked teams to start off conference season.
Young was pleased with the Cowgirls' performance in conference matches.
“I think two wins being 6-1 this week show that we competed in a very high level,” Young said. “Not all of them is easy as it may seem. Both of the teams played well. We just executing in a high level. I think we have won six matches in a row now and the girls are feeling confident.”
OSU started the afternoon strong with Blanco and Gulihur took a 6-3 victory on Court 1. Marina Guinart and Katarina Stresnakova then clinched the doubles point, defeating Karine-Marion Job and Ines Mesquita 6-4.
In singles, Stresnakova bounced back from Friday’s tough loss with a 6-2, 6-1 victory against Margot Decker. Gulihur’s ace was OSU’s third point of the afternoon. Guinart then followed Gulihur with an ace of her own to defeat Job 6-2, 6-2.
The Cowgirls clinched the victory within an hour and 45 minutes.
“It was a good weekend for us overall, to get conference play started with two teams that will no doubt have an effect in the conference standings,” Young said. “It’s a good two-match start for us, and now we have to go on the road to Iowa State and West Virginia this weekend and keeps moving things forward.”
The remaining singles matches were played out. Tamara Arnold defeated Ioana Gheorghita in straight sets and Blanco took a comeback victory in the third-set tiebreaker against Anna Turco. The Wildcats’ consolation point came courtesy of Maria Linares as she defeated Lisa Marie Rioux 6-3, 6-4 on Court 2.
Young gave credits to his players for their performance in a challenging outdoor environment.
“Today is the day you love to play,” Young said. “I think outdoor tennis is just being grinder and people being in there and competing in a high level. Days like today just kind of show a little bit of our mental toughness and it is something that we are pride of ourselves.”