COLUMBUS — Most of the time in most sports, experience counts.
And the opponent Bath’s Emily Ruhe drew in the first round of the Division II girls state tennis tournament on Friday couldn’t have been more experienced.
Columbus DeSales’ Rachael Morales, playing in her fourth consecutive state tournament, defeated Ruhe 6-1, 6-1.
The Bath senior was playing in her first state tournament and second state tournament overall after competing in the girls state basketball tournament last season. She is the only Bath player to ever reach the state tournament in girls tennis.
Morales finished third in the state as a freshman, got to the second round as a sophomore and was eliminated in the first round a year ago.
This time, she started strong and made sure she made it out of the first round.
Ruhe, after dropping the first set, won the first game of the second set, breaking Morales’ serve with the help of a backhand winner and two double faults by the DeSales player.
But Morales won the next six games to finish the match.
Ruhe is better known as a basketball player but said tennis is a sport she cares a lot about.
“I love this sport and I’m really sad that it’s over,” she said.
Unlike most state tennis qualifiers, Ruhe is not a product of intensive offseason training and coaching.
“I think about that sometimes, that if I played it like some of the girls here I could have done a lot better. But I’m just excited to be here,” she said.
“I wish I could have hit it a little deeper on her. Maybe that would have helped. But I tried my best,” she said. “I just wanted it to last forever, I didn’t want it to end. It’s been a really great season. I wouldn’t have wanted it to end anywhere but here.”