Herd tennis’ Morales looking to end junior season on high note

Marshall University junior tennis player Rachel Morales has seen steady improvement during her career with the Herd, but that improvement will be tested Thursday when the team begins the Conference USA Women’s Tennis Championships in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
Morales said she is excited to play in the Conference USA Tournament, where the Herd will open with a match against Florida Atlantic University. Morales said the team is even more eager for the championships after its strong performance against Old Dominion University in the regular season finale Saturday, where the Herd won 5-2.
“It’s really good for our confidence because we really had a shaky season,” Morales said. “To beat ODU 5-2 just a few days before the conference tournament was definitely a good boost for us.”
The Columbus, Ohio native won her single and double match against Old Dominion. She defeated Adriana Rajkovic (6-4, 7-5) in singles play, and Maddie Silver helped her defeat Nikol Hristova and Nataliya Vlasova in the pairings doubles match.
Morales said the win over the Monarchs, which are seeded fourth in the conference tournament, proved the team could beat a superior opponent. Morales said she is hopeful the team can reach the conference semifinals against Florida International University.
Although Morales said the team has been shaky this season, she has found personal success as she holds the second most singles wins on the team with 11 this season, trailing only Derya Turnhan.
Morales’ experiences on the tennis court are extensive and numerous as she first took up the story at the age of 6. Morales said her passion for the sport has continued to grow, and said she is focused on the day-to-day process of improving her game.
“I just want to make myself better, and be the best player I can be,” Morales said.
Morales said the relationship with her coaches and teammates has also created a comfortable and trusting atmosphere that has been conducive to her success.
“I feel like a can tell my coaches anything, and with my teammates we all treat each other with respect,” Morales said.
With one more chance to impress before entering her last season with the Herd, Morales said she doesn’t feel the pressure of the conference tournament because of how long she’s been playing the sport, but she said she can’t wait to put her best racquet forward in Tennessee.
Danielle Wright can be contacted at [email protected]