By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
CORINTH – It’s been a season of firsts for Corinth’s Lady Warriors in volleyball.
Add another one.
Corinth, playing in the postseason for the first time in the program’s three-year history, defeated Ackerman 3-0 Monday in the opening round of MHSAA Class I state playoffs.
The Lady Warriors (20-10-2), who won their first division championship last week, beat Ackerman by scores of 25-16, 25-20 and 26-24 to move into Saturday’s state quarterfinals against the winner of today’s Lafayette-Madison St. Joseph match.
“We missed the playoffs by one game last year,” said Corinth’s 6-foot senior middle blocker Erin Frazier. “That hurt pretty bad. It helped motivate us this year.
“I feel like we can go all the way this year.”
Corinth, behind kill shots from Frazier and Annalee Hendrick, took a commanding 16-5 lead in the first game. A kill by Hendrick gave the Warriors their winning point.
“Our goal was to get off to a good start,” Frazier said. “It’s easier to keep the momentum when you win the first game.”
Obviously, Ackerman (12-7) didn’t agree. The visitors took a 7-1 lead in the second game, before Corinth slowly battled back to tie it at 16-16 and 20-20.
A kill and block by Frazier and kills by her senior teammates Meredith Wilbanks and Alexis Willis gave them the five-point win.
Ackerman didn’t go down easy. Frazier, who leads the Warriors in kills this season with 270, had four late in the third game. Hendrick, Wilbanks and Jaja Johnson had key kills down the stretch.
“I thought we were terribly tight tonight,” Corinth coach Erika McCoy said as she munched on cotton candy. “We’ve had a lot of distractions, not knowing what to do and what to expect in the playoffs.
“We’re still a young team, mentally, in this game.”
Corinth played and tied possible playoff opponent Madison St. Joe, 1-1, early in the season at the Tupelo Volleyfest.
“We played that match without our senior setter, Alexis Willis,” McCoy said. “I think we’ve improved in every aspect of our game since we played St. Joe.”
Class I Playoffs
Lafayette at Madison St. Joe, 6 p.m.
Aberdeen at Caledonia, 6 p.m.