High School Sports Notebook October 7, 2011

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

Postseason’s new format challenges all swimmers
Tupelo senior swimmer Rick Deaton is looking forward to the new championship format for this season’s MHSAA State Swim Meet, but it means he’ll have to perform well at North state to qualify.
Only the top 24 swimmers in each event – the top eight from the North and South, along with the best eight remaining competitors from either region – qualify for the Oct. 29 meet at Delta State University.
“I’m very excited,” Deaton said. “I think (the new format) will produce faster times. There will be a lot more adrenaline going through your body. You’ve be motivated to go faster.”
In seasons past, any swimmer with qualifying times could attend the state meet.
“Now the North state meet means something,” Tupelo coach Lucas Smith said. “If you don’t swim well at North half, you don’t go to state.”
Deaton is gunning to qualify in two individual events – the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard breaststroke. He’ll also be a part of the 200 medley and 200 free relay units.
The North state meet is set for Oct. 15 in Jackson.

Corinth prefers ‘underdog’ role in volleyball playoffs
Corinth’s volleyball team may be a 20-match winner this season, but coach Erika McCoy wants her club to continue to think like an underdog.
“We’ve learned over the course of the last three years that we’re underdogs and we have to fight if we’re going to win,” she said, following the Lady Warriors’ 3-0 victory against Ackerman in Monday’s opening round of the MHSAA Class I state playoffs. “We’re still young mentally in this game.”
Corinth’s program is in its third season and qualified for the playoffs for the first time this year. The team won just five matches in 2009.
The Lady Warriors continue their quest for a state title with a state quarterfinals match on Saturday at Madison St. Joseph.

V-ball showdown looms if Wave, Chargers advance
If Tupelo and Southaven take care of business Saturday in the opening round of the MHSAA Class III state volleyball playoffs, the two squads would clash Tuesday, at Southaven, in the semifinals.
Tupelo hosts Northwest Rankin at 1 p.m. Saturday, while Southaven visits Madison Central.
Tupelo’s lone loss this season came Sept. 15 in Southaven when the Chargers smacked the Lady Wave 3-0. Tupelo defeated Southaven 3-1 earlier in the season.
“We’re looking at Northwest Rankin and prepping for that,” Lady Wave senior middle blocker Sarah Farmer said. “We have to leave everything on the court. I don’t want this to be the end of my season.”
As for the possible rematch, “It’s always in the back of our minds,” Farmer said.

South Panola continues slide in AP poll with losses
Defending state champion South Panola heads into tonight’s game at Columbus fighting to remain in contention for the Division 1-6A title.
The Tigers, a surprising 3-3, suffered a huge blow last week with their 24-6 loss to division rival Olive Branch.
To gauge how far the Tigers have fallen, just take a look at this week’s AP high school Top 10 poll. South Panola received just one vote – the same as Natchez Cathedral, and five votes behind Jackson Academy and West Bolivar.
South Panola’s other losses have been to Hoover, Ala., (24-13) and Gulfport (13-4), two pretty stout programs.
Tupelo’s Golden Wave will get the opportunity to test the Tigers next week, traveling to Batesville for a division showdown. South Panola swamped the Wave 62-6 last season in a televised game.