BY TRAVIS DAVID
SULLIVAN — The Sullivan boys tennis team continued its stretch of play against quality programs on Saturday in hosting their own invitational.
The Arrow netters placed third with 13 points.
Princeton claimed the team title by amassing 15 team points, while Evansville North won the tiebreaker over the Arrows for second place — having more individual champions — and South Knox finished fourth with nine points.
Sullivan senior Houston Ferree finished as the lone champion for the Arrows. Ferree picked up a pair of wins at No. 1 singles, running his record to 9-1 on the year.
The Arrows’ top player started the tournament with a 6-3, 6-1 win over North’s Braden Woebkerberg. In the finals, Ferree edged Princeton’s Dillan Firkins in the opening set before cruising to a 6-2 win in the second for the title.
“I am very happy and excited for the excellent day that Houston had,” Sullivan coach Wes Kirk said. “He beat two strong players for the champions medal at No. 1 singles.”
In the other two singles positions, Drew Baker and Levi Chickadaunce both advanced to the finals with opening wins at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively.
Baker knocked off North’s Hayden Montooth by a pair of 6-4 scores. In the opening set, Baker erased a 4-2 deficit by winning the final four games of the set.
In the finals, the Sullivan No. 2 player dropped a 6-2, 6-2 decision to Princeton’s Liam Stone.
Chickadaunce coasted into the finals with a 6-1, 6-1 win over South Knox’s Evan Drelman.
In the No. 3 singles championship match, the Sullivan sophomore fell to Princeton’s Jarrett Kinder, 6-1, 6-2.
On the doubles court, Sullivan dropped both of its opening round matches. The Arrows’ No. 1 tandem of Jayden Scott and Carter Mischler fell in a third-set tiebreaker. After dropping the opening set 6-1, Scott and Parker forced the tiebreaker with a 6-2 win in the second. In a back-and-forth battle, Princeton’s Colton Hill and Eli Kruse edged the Sullivan duo, 10-8 in the tiebreaker.
Scott and Mischler ran out of steam in the second match of the day, retiring in the second set.
At No. 2 doubles, Spencer Hanks and Sam Couch were also edged in a third-set tiebreaker.
The Arrows’ tandem lost the opening set 6-4, before bouncing back with a 7-6 (5) win in the second. South Knox’s Isaac True and Max Smith advanced to the finals with a 10-7 win in the tiebreaker.
The final point of the tournament for the Arrows came from Hunter Pinkston and Andrew Jackson. The duo filled in at the No. 2 spot in the consolation match and earned a 6-1, 6-1 win over Princeton’s Connor Miller and Ashtynn Davis.
“Hunter and Andew picked up a nice win for us,” Kirk said.
Kirk mentioned he was pleased with the effort from the team despite finishing in third place.
“We had a chance to win three matches today,” the veteran coach said. “But in tennis, the margin between winning and losing can be very small. If five more points had gone our way in four first-round doubles matches, we could have won the tournament. The matches were winnable and our effort was good. We just couldn’t find a way to win the big points and we gave our opponents too many free points.”
Sullivan (6-4) plays host to Western Indiana Conference rival West Vigo on Tuesday.