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Big 12 title last chance for injury-riddled Cowgirls

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Bedlam Soccer

OSU defender Ally Jackson fights for the ball.

The only thing coach Colin Carmichael could do was lighten up practice.

Fresh off games against Oklahoma and Texas, the Oklahoma State soccer team about to practice on Tuesday was beat up.

It was a physical two game stretch. Carmichael, speaking to reporters before practice, said multiple starters were dealing with injuries.

“OU did one on us, that’s for sure,” junior forward Olyvia Dowell said. “I think they’re done one on everybody. Colin was telling us that they have the second most yellow cards in the nation right now.”

Senior defender Kim Rodriguez rolled her ankle and was dealing with swelling. Senior defender Ally Jackson was sore from a hit to the hip, freshman goalkeeper Evie Vitali’s had was hurting after a collision and Dowell’s soreness, which has plagued her this season, returned.

“We’re probably not the only one, so we shouldn’t complain too much,” Carmichael said. “We’ve had our share of injuries all season. They just kind of kicked in again here at the end. Nothing we can do about it, really.”

Sophomore Kionna Simon arrived for practice on crutches, but the training session, like her trip to get there, looked a little different.

“We’re cancelling the goalkeeper segment,” Carmichael said. “We are going to train. It will just be light. We won’t do as much as we normally would. Some of them won’t do anything.”

OSU planned to walk through their team shape to prepare for what film study revealed about their Thursday opponent — West Virginia. The healthiest players would do a little technical work to get them moving but Carmichael did not want to do anything drastic.

The Cowgirls’ NCAA tournament hopes are hanging in the balance. Carmichael must weigh the importance of winning the WVU game, which would boost their hopes of landing an at-large bid, with the need to stay healthy for the Big 12 tournament on Sunday.

“I lean towards starting them if they’re healthy enough and seeing how the game is going,” Carmichael said. “If you’re down three with 20 minutes left , maybe pull them out and get ready for Sunday. If you’re up one, or tied or it’s one nil you’ve probably got to go for it.”

OSU is on the bubble of the NCAA tournament right now. Carmichael said if they don’t beat WVU, the Cowgirls may need to win the Big 12 tournament to get in.

With the injury problems cropping up, OSU must play it cards, and players, carefully if it is to return to the NCAA tournament.