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Water Valley battles, sweeps South Panola in home finale

WATER VALLEY — With one week remaining in the regular season, the Water Valley Blue Devils got a test from a team they may not have expected to receive one from.

In their final regular-season home match, the Blue Devils had to battle but ultimately swept South Panola 3-0 (25-22, 26-24, 25-23) on Tuesday night inside the Water Valley High School multipurpose building.

It looked to be an easy night’s work for Water Valley (12-6) as they cruised out to a 10-5 lead in the first set. It would prove to be a false feeling as South Panola (1-12) would creep back to within one point on multiple occasions before the Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead with a 4-2 run to close out the opening set.

The task would grow even tougher in the next two sets as South Panola jumped out to huge leads in each only to have Water Valley complete large comebacks to prevent from dropping a set.

In the second frame, the Tigers leaped out to a 20-12 lead and then promptly watched Water Valley close out the set on a 14-4 run.

It was more of the same in the third set, this time with South Panola taking a 15-5 lead and then giving up a 20-8 rally to the Blue Devils to lose the set and the match.

“We started off a little rocky in that second and last set, but they came back,” Water Valley assistant coach Taylor Davidson said. “It’s something to be said for the fight and the heart that these kids have.”

The Blue Devils will travel to M.S. Palmer on Thursday to close out the regular season and will then turn their attention to the postseason where they will host Belmont at 5:30 p.m. next Tuesday in the first round of the MHSAA Class I playoffs.