Sep. 29—Sullivan came into the tournament Wednesday knowing it had a shot and West Vigo started fast and looked ready to pose a challenge.
But in the end, as it always seems to, the 2022 boys high school tennis sectional will come down to a 5 p.m. Thursday match between Terre Haute North and host Terre Haute South.
The Patriots fought off early battles at three spots in the lineup — and a later first-set loss at a fourth position — to defeat the Vikings 5-0 Wednesday.
Sullivan had lost 3-2 early in the season to South and needed to reverse just one of those outcomes. Instead it was South's Vaishant Mannepalli who got the reversal, pulling away for a surprisingly decisive win over Sullivan's Houston Ferree, and the Braves prevailed 4-1.
South won the regular-season match at North 3-2 and has won the last four local sectionals.
The Braves were never really threatened in any of the four matches they won against the Golden Arrows.
"Everybody was fired up and really wanted to win," coach Ethan Caldwell said after the match. "The wind was a factor, and we played very well in the wind."
Sullivan finished 14-7. "We tied the school record for wins," coach Wes Kirk pointed out, "and we beat seven teams that beat us last year.
"Houston Ferree finished 19-2 and was flirting with school records," Kirk added, noting that Sullivan's best individual winning percentage is .950 (19-1) and its records for wins in a season is 21.
"We played well tonight," said North coach Matt Wilson. "We came out with energy.
"West Vigo is a solid team, and we had a slow start in a couple of places," Wilson continued, "but Gabe Dunbar had a clean match [at No. 3 singles] and one doubles [John Lee and Peyton Lintzenich] played the best they have all year."
"We had a good season, a growing season," said coach Janet Rowe of West Vigo. "We're a young team — six freshmen and five sophomores out of 13 players. They're learning, and there's a lot of good talent coming up."