By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – There’s a new bully on the block in Class III, Region 1 volleyball and she kicked sand in Tupelo’s face on Wednesday night.
DeSoto Central, which had never beaten Tupelo, rallied from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the defending state champion Lady Wave 3-1 at the THS gymnasium.
After falling 25-17 in the first game, the McKena Davis-powered Lady Jaguars used a precision offensive and defensive attack to take 25-22, 25-22 and 25-20 wins.
Davis, who suffered a torn ACL late last season, led the Lady Jaguars with 24 kills and four aces. Her final ace ended the match.
“This was huge,” said DC’s senior outside hitter. “We’ve been wanting to beat Tupelo since my freshman year. We have nine seniors and we made a promise that before we graduated, we would beat Tupelo.”
DeSoto Central is now 4-0 overall and 3-0 in region play. The Lady Jags defeated another region power, Southaven, 3-1 Tuesday night.
“They are the team to beat,” second-year Tupelo coach Laurie Bishop said. “That’s who we’re going to have to beat to move on later in the season.
“They wanted it more; they put it together.”
Tupelo is now 8-2 overall and 0-1 in the region. The two teams play their rematch Sept. 27 at DeSoto Central.
Only the top two teams in the region advance to the postseason.
“We have a good, solid team that plays well together,” DeSoto Central first-year coach Margaret Falatko said. “We played with high energy. We played good defense and we had smart hits.
“This win was huge.”
Tupelo, behind four kills and a blocked shot from 6-foot-3 senior middle blocker Hannah Farmer, handled the visitors in the opening game.
Farmer led the Wave with 15 total kills.
In the second game, Tupelo never had more than a two-point lead. DeSoto Central’s Davis nailed the game-clinching shot.
The Lady Jaguars led by as many as six points in the third game before Tupelo rallied to tie it twice – 17-all and 22-all. Again, Davis provided the winner with a tap-in.
DeSoto Central jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the fourth game and held on. A kill by Davis and an ace wrapped up the victory.
“Their offensive game has improved a lot,” Bishop said. “We didn’t have an answer.”