The ice used to soothe injuries might as well have been salt.
Four Missouri players nursed injuries after their matches and watched as Iowa edged the Tigers 4-3 on Sunday at the Green Tennis Center.
Missouri (7-5) was in position to win, but Erika Josbena lost to Hilary Tyler 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 in the decisive No. 6 singles match.
“This is a gut-wrenching loss for us because you’re that close,” Missouri coach Blake Starkey said. “It’s bad timing with injuries. If we don’t have the injuries we’ve got now, we’ve swept the weekend.”
Urska Juric iced a sore right knee, Hana Kraftova and Yelena Olshanskaya sore left knees and Marry Barry a sore back.
Missouri beat Oklahoma State 6-1 on Friday, but lost 5-2 to Oklahoma on Saturday.
“I’m proud of what we’re doing, considering we’re injured,” Starkey said. “We’ve put ourselves in position to win matches. We just need to kick the door in. We’ve got to go out and close a match.”
Josbena rallied to tie the final set at 4, but failed to hold serve. The underhand-serving Tyler finished the match by holding serve.
“Sometimes when you’re the last one out there that can be a lonely feeling,” Starkey said.
Missouri won the doubles point when Juric and Katka Sevcikova won 9-7 at No. 1, and Barry and Josbena won 8-4 at No. 2.
Olshanskaya and Kraftova added singles wins.
Kraftova overcame a 4-1 first-set deficit to beat Anastasia Zuhkova 6-4, 6-4 in the No. 3 match. Olshanskaya beat Deni Alexandrova 6-2, 7-6 (7-2) in the No. 5 match.
“I needed some time to get in the right position and to get the right strategy to play with (Zuhkova),” Kraftova said. “She made a lot of mistakes. There were a couple balls she didn’t play well and those balls helped me.”
Juric, who didn’t play singles on Saturday because of her knee, lost to Iowa’s Megan Ralette 6-3, 6-2 in the No. 1 match.
“Urska went out and she gave it her best,” Starkey said. “She just couldn’t move. Normally she would have beat that kid two and two.”
Juric’s injury was apparent throughout the match. She wasn’t able to chase shots on the baseline and failed to hold serve.
“I can’t use my right knee right now,” Juric said. “When you serve you have to have balance. You have to have both knees. I didn’t have that balance and I double faulted a lot and that’s why she got almost all the games on my serve, which is not good. I tried, but I just couldn’t move.”
Juric attributed the rash of injuries to the busy weekend.
“We’re in the middle of the season right now and it’s just a lot of playing and a lot of matches,” Juric said. “It’s hard playing three matches in a row, if you look at our team everyone is hurting.”