Tennis is often a game of quick turnarounds, and that can put mental strain on a player. After a tough loss on Friday night in the Oklahoma State women’s tennis team’s (11-1 overall, 2-0 Big 12) Big 12 opener, Alana Wolfberg had to put the poor performance in the past in order to focus on facing a new opponent in less than 48 hours.
The No. 12 Cowgirls played their second Big 12 game of the season on Sunday against Texas Christian University (3-7, 0-2) in the Michael and Anne Greenwood Tennis Center. Coming off a match against Texas Tech on Friday night, most of the Cowgirls who played were doing so with minimal rest.
One of the Cowgirls who were counted on by coach Chris Young was Alana Wolfberg. The freshman from Orlando, Florida, has had significant playing time for OSU throughout the first half of the season.
Wolfberg started the doubles match on a good note. She and her partner Catherine Gulihur opened up the match with a 3-0 lead. A spike from Wolfberg made the doubles score 4-1, and the Cowgirls quickly closed out the match 6-1.
With a speedy doubles victory already in her pocket, Wolfberg would go into singles play, where she struggled on Friday, with momentum.
Under the close watch of coach Chris Young, Wolfberg battled through the first five games of her match and came out with a 3-2 lead. The freshman played extremely well from that point on. Wolfberg rallied to win three straight games and won the first set of her singles match.
The final set of Wolfberg’s match was where her endurance was put on full display. Her well-placed shots continually put her opponent off balance and in the wrong place on the court. The skillful display resulted in the freshman cruising to a 6-0 victory in the second set.
“She didn’t play doubles against Texas Tech, didn’t play well in singles” said coach Chris Young of Wolfberg’s play over this weekend. “We really challenged her in some ways the last couple days… and I thought she really responded very very well today in singles and doubles.”
One thing that was evident throughout the match today was the encouragement that Wolfberg received from Young. The two were laughing and smiling during Wolfberg’s match, and Young almost always had a word of encouragement or advice in between points.
“I have to do a better job of that as a coach,” said Young of helping his players get relaxed and in a good state of mind during their matches. “Alana is somebody that if I can just get her loose she plays really well…and that’s what it’s all about. We should be out here having fun."