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Playing through: Cowgirls to play in national tournament after shutdown

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Young/Stara/Detkovskaya

Head coach Chris Young lectures Lenka Stara and Dariya Detkovskaya during Oklahoma State's dual vs Missouri on Saturday, January 16, 2021 at the Greenwood Tennis Center. Bruce Waterfield/OSU Athletics

Two weeks.

Without live competition.

Now, a National Championship tournament awaits.

Coach Chris Young and his Cowgirl tennis team are used to adversity.

Last season, OSU pieced together an 11-1 start before the coronavirus derailed a season with plans of hosting the Big 12 Championships along with the NCAA Championships.

But then, good things started to happen in an unfortunate situation.

In October, the NCAA announced OSU would host the 2024 NCAA Tennis Championships at the Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center — a delayed consolation.

In the fall, the Cowgirls hosted a Big 12 fall tournament — the first of its kind.

Off the court, the Cowgirls were winners of a different kind of accomplishment. A semester without any COVID cases or contact tracing issues. But then, the loathed virus made its way inside the Cowgirl and Cowboy tennis programs.

Before the shutdown, OSU’s spring season started with a pair of wins against Missouri on Jan. 16.

Wyoming was scheduled to visit on Jan. 19.

Canceled.

The next three matches against Arkansas, SMU and Oral Roberts? Postponed and canceled.

A tune-up dual versus Texas on Feb. 2?

Canceled.

Now, the Cowgirls are nearing the end of a two-week shutdown from a positive test and contract issues.

Their first match since the pause?

No. 2 seed UCLA in the quarterfinals of the ITA Indoor Nationals at 3:30 p.m. inside the Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center.

“All the pressure is completely on UCLA,” said Cowgirl head coach Chris Young. “We’re not expected to do anything, and we haven’t played in two weeks.

Historically, OSU is just 1-1 against the Bruins with the last match resulting in a 4-1 loss in Stillwater on Feb. 2, 2019.

The Cowgirls will be thrown into action in a loaded eight-team field that includes North Carolina, Ohio State, Georgia Tech, Pepperdine, Texas, Northwestern and UCLA.

“All three days will be very exciting,” said Young. “A good team can go 0-3 this weekend and still be a top ten team.”

In a situation filled with unfortunate circumstances, health and safety remains a top priority.

“If the girls aren’t able to play on Friday, then that’s just the way it will be,” said Young. “If someone isn’t ready, we won’t push it.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com