Lenka Stara waited on a slow, lofty lob from Missouri State’s Tiffani Shaw.
Stara smacked the ball down the middle of the court out of Shaw’s reach. The volley winner produced the Slovak sophomore’s fourth win of the day.
Stara’s performance propelled No. 13 OSU (4-3) to a 4-0 win over Central Arkansas (5-7) and a 4-1 victory against Missouri State (1-6).
“It felt good to be back,” she said. “I wasn’t able to play the National Indoors because of quarantine. I was happy with my performance.”
Despite the win against UCA, OSU played a quiet brand of tennis that, according to coach Chris Young, isn’t the “Cowgirl Standard.”
“We hung our heads after a few points that didn’t go our way. We didn’t have that mental toughness and that competitive energy that we talked a lot about.”
Stara echoed Young’s sentiments.
“To be honest, we had a slow start. We didn’t have much energy in the first match. With energy, we played much better.”
Cowgirls Ayumi Miyamoto and Daniella Medvedeva collected the other single victories against Central Arkansas.
“Today felt like a restart to our season,” Young said. “We had two good wins against Missouri over a month ago, and we didn’t get a chance to have our full team at the ITA National Indoors. Today we needed two matches to find our legs.”
Against the other Bears — Missouri State, Young opted to use walk-on Lara Boggs at No. 6 singles for the fourth time this season.
MSU’s Claire Martin earned the lone Bear win over Boggs 6-0, 6-1.
Cowgirl Dariya Detkovskaya, Stara’s double partner, cruised to a straight set victory over MSU’s Tiffani Nash.
Despite the win, Detkovskaya emerged from the locker room mere minutes after the match and smacked forehands served by Cowgirl assistant coach, Jaime Sanchez-Cańamares.
“No one should be satisfied with what we did today,” Young said. It’s just a step in the right direction. We have bigger goals.”