Rock Bridge girls tennis’ season came to an end Tuesday after losing 5-0 to Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School in the Class 3 quarterfinals. It marked only the third time since 1999 that the Bruins have failed to qualify for the state semifinals. They also missed the semis in 2008 and 2019.
After MSHSAA moved to three classes in 2020, Rock Bridge has faced some of the toughest competition in the state. MICDS was no different.
It was a matchup of two powerhouses. Rock Bridge has been to sectionals every year since 1999 and has won 23 consecutive district tournaments with 10 state championships in that time. The Bruins won five state titles in a row from 2014-18. MICDS has won seven state tournaments and has finished in the top four 10 other times. MICDS came into the match after defeating three-time defending state champion John Burroughs in the district championship game.
MICDS started the match hot, winning the first five points before it was stopped.
In doubles, the Bruins’ Kinley Schade and Prathyankara Premkumar held an 8-6 lead in a back-and-forth match against Stella Kreisel and Bennett Baur, before ultimately dropping it 9-8. MICDS won every doubles match to take a 3-0 lead.
In singles, Rachel Li defeated Anjali Ramesh 6-0, 6-2, and Journee White defeated Amali Ramesh 6-1, 6-1 to give MICDS the necessary five points to win the match. The Bruins’ Maggie Lin was leading her dual match by taking the first set 6-1 when play was halted.
“Like the old great John Kadlec used to say, ‘Sometimes you just get out-horsed,’” Rock Bridge coach Ben Loeb said. “I admire the effort. We did the best we could and made the state quarterfinals and that’s quite admirable in itself.”
Rock Bridge will send five individuals to the state tournament set to begin Thursday. Maggie Lin will compete in the singles event, while Aparna Sivaraman, Premkumar and the Ramesh sisters will compete in doubles. The tournament will be played in a double-elimination format. Competitors will have to win two matches Thursday to advance to Friday’s play. The top eight will medal. The tournament will take place at Cooper Tennis Center in Springfield.
The Bruins finished the year 21-3. Two of their losses came against MICDS and one against Visitation Academy, both perennial state powers.