Garner Cleveland: Sports

Change in playoff seeding priorities for 6 sports

The N.C. High School Athletic Association will not use conference seeding priority for playoffs with predetermined brackets. Conference seeding priority had been used to designate what team would be at home if teams with equal seeds met.

Now, if equal seeds meet in the tennis, lacrosse, volleyball, baseball or softball playoffs, the team with the higher winning percentage will host. The conference seeding priority was done at random. (For football, soccer and basketball, seeding priorities are not affected.)

In volleyball, where home court can have an effect on the outcome, this change would potentially keep teams like one-loss Princeton at home deep into the 1A playoffs. Last year in the 4A playoffs, undefeated Leesville Road played at Apex, a team it had beaten in the regular season, in the third round and dropped a set in a 3-1 win.

Coaches moving on: The area is losing two coaches of fall sports later this month when Smithfield-Selma High soccer coach Renato Freitas and Neuse Charter School volleyball coach Lisa Freitas move to Florida.

Renato Freitas, a Brazilian native, has accepted a coaching position in Fort Myers near his wife’s family.

“We have an 18-month-old son and we felt that it was important for him to grow up around family,” Renato Freitas said. “And since my family is in Brazil, the closest is Lisa’s family. With our busy schedule, teaching, coaching – at SSS and a JUSA club for me – and Lisa working and coaching, it became hard to spend quality time as a family.”

Renato Freitas said he delayed the move as long as he could, wanting to stay with the SSS soccer team as it chases the Two Rivers 3A Conference title (the Spartans led the league entering this week), but he couldn’t delay the move any longer. He will be around Oct. 23 for Senior Night at SSS, then drive all night and start an orientation class for his new position in Fort Myers on Oct. 24.

J. Mike Blake contributed.