The injury bug bit Oklahoma State on Thursday.
Its usually active offense was lifeless at times, but outstanding play from goalkeeper Jordan Nytes and the rest of the teammates were crucial in earning the Cowgirls a 1-1 draw with West Virginia.
“As you guys saw we were missing three key players from the starting lineup including our two starting forwards," said OSU coach Colin Carmichael. "So it was always going to be an uphill battle but those kids who played tonight played great, executed the gameplan, and played a very good West Virgnia team."
The players Carmichael was referring to were senior forward Olyvia Dowell, junior defender Molly Breiner and freshman forward Gracie Bindbeutel, all three crucial pieces to the usual Cowgirl starting 11.
Dowell is key to the Cowgirls offensive attack, and her presence was missed early and often against the Moutaineers.
OSU’s offense was dormant until the 38-minute mark of the first half, when senior defender Megan Haines capitalized on a cross and scored the Cowgirls fist and only goal to make it 1-0.
“It was really cool because I was called to play forward today, which I used to do in the past but this year I’ve gone to wing backer and been more defensive, so it was cool,” Haines said.
While OSU struggled on offense, they turned in a very strong performance defensively, much to the praise of Carmichael.
“The defense had to really step up because we knew we were going to be limited up front. You know we had to play Yochum, Haines and Pineda up front and you know they don’t play there. So we had to make due with what we had and when you consider that I think those guys did a great job,” Carmichael said.
The second half was more of the same for both teams, with Nytes making saves left and right, getting her total to six by the end of the night.
“She’s such a good goalkeeper, and her ability to deal with high balls is crucial, she came up and punched, she came up and up and caught and that’s something she brings to the table that a lot of keepers, if any in our league can do,” Carmichael said.
Nytes had several great saves, but the Mountaineers were able to capitalize on Nytes being out of position when WVU midfielder Gabrielle Robinson perfectly over the outstretched arms of Nytes with only 8 minutes left in the game.
“Yeah, I was pretty upset, my body language was a little upsetting. But it was just kind of a clearance that we weren't able to get out,” Nytes said.
Despite the late goal, Nytes made one last outstanding play, reaching one hand up to the top right corner of the goal to deny what would have been a West Virginia winner in the final minute of the match.
“Defensively we were great, the shape was good, the kids executed the gameplan really well, and we will take the tie given the circumstances for sure,” Carmichael said.