The results were varied for the four teams, but the year was highlighted by Cartersville reaching the state playoffs, Adairsville setting a program record with 20 wins, and Woodland and Cass overcoming inexperience to finish their seasons on a positive note.
Cartersville rallies to end the season
Cartersville coach Camille Spradley scheduled competitive teams and challenged her Lady Canes with high quality opponents to begin the season.
The result of the challenging schedule was an inauspicious start to the season and an excellent finish to reach the state tournament.
“Our overall record doesn’t look good but they played well all season long going against some real tough competitive teams,” Spradley said of her team. “I think it helps us playing those teams because it gives us a different perspective on the game and it helps the girls to understand the game more in depth. It’s a different paced game than what we see from a lot of the teams that are in our area. I think that it helps prepare them for what we need to be prepared for.”
As a result of the schedule, the Lady Canes started out of the gate 0-6.
Things did not get much better during the area schedule. Cartersville finished the regular season in last place in the area and were the eighth seed entering the area tournament.
That’s when the Lady Canes’ fortunes came around. They played four matches and seven straight hours on Oct. 12, winning three straight matches to qualify for the state tournament and finish second in the area.
“They defeated some teams that were seeded higher than us that had breaks, so they did very well,” Spradley said. “Overall, they had a good season because, ultimately, the goal is to do well at your area tournament and make it to playoffs. That was definitely when we peaked during our season, so they were playing their best ball when they needed to be.”
Spradley’s team lost in the first round of the state playoffs to Buford High in three sets. The scores were 25-12, 25-15 and 25-9.
“We didn’t give up, so the scores don’t tell very well how the match went,” Spradley said. “For everybody that was there, they saw how hard the team was working. They saw how many competitive rallies there were, back and forth. There were great service games. We would just lose the rally, but they did really well.”
Overall, the Lady Canes had another quality season. They reached the state playoffs, finished second in the region tournament, and finishing 7-0 against the other three Bartow County teams, including winning the area tournament on Sept. 28. Their final record was 15-22, but Spradley and her team members are proud of the season.
“We were just slow coming out of the gate compared to last season,” Spradley said. “They were proud of themselves. There were no tears when we got finished because, even though they had lost and they knew the season was over, they also knew they had played the best volleyball they were able to play. They knew they had come together as a team when they needed to.”
Tigers tail off at the end of the season
The Adairsville volleyball team had its first 20-win season in school history, going 20-15 for the only winning season in Bartow County.
However, there is a bitter taste left in the team’s mouth after a disappointing end to the season and coming up short in its efforts to make the state tournament.
“Overall, we had a good season. A few victories escaped us near the end, but we set a record for most number of wins,” Adairsville head coach David Adams said. “Eventually, after the bitterness of the losses goes away, we’ll look back and say, ‘Hey, that was a good season.’”
The Lady Tigers got off on a winning track, recording their 20th victory before the month of September was over. They then lost their last six matches of the season.
Heading into the area tournament as the fourth seed, Adams was hopeful his team would make the state tournament. However, his squad was beaten by Coahulla Creek and Cartersville and was eliminated early. It was the third time Cartersville had beaten Adairsville this season.
“The same little things had been plaguing us the last third of the season,” Adams said. “All the little breaks that went our way in the first part of the season seemed to elude us.”
The Cartersville match was a closely contested one.
“They beat us in the first set. We beat them in the second and then the third set, we were leading them. I don’t recall the exact score, but I think it was like 22-20,” Adams said. “We gave up two quick points. One of them was a miscommunication, one of them was someone didn’t make a move defensively they should have. On the very next play, Sydney Sumners, who is a huge part of our defense and our offense, went up and came down on her tailbone. So they got up 23-22.
“Would have, could have, should have, it was just little things here and there. It is kind of the story of the last part of the season for us.”
The match eliminated Adairsville and ended the season, but Adams still feels he will look back fondly on the 2013 season.
“I’m proud of the girls. They never quit,” he said. “They were not a big hitting team. We won through defense, and I’ll match my girls up with anybody as far as courage and willingness to hit the floor.”
Inexperienced Lady ’Cats finish strong
Woodland head coach David Condon knew he had an inexperienced team heading into the season and understood there would be growing pains.
Such growing pains were evident over the course of the year as the Lady Wildcats got off to a 4-25 start, but improved as the season progressed and nearly qualified for the state tournament.
“I just tried to tell them the whole season, ‘We’re going to improve, so just be patient through the growing pains,’” Condon said. “It was tough, but they did and you realize we are getting a lot better, and we played a lot better at the end of the season. We’re pretty pleased with that.”
Woodland’s overall record was 13-31, right where Condon expected his team to be.
“For the most part, we finished right about where I thought we would, honestly. I knew we would probably would win about a third of our games,” he said. “That’s pretty much where we were and I tried to make sure to let them know that. But at the end of the season, as things progressed, we would start winning some and that’s pretty much what happened. They took that to heart and pretty much went with it, and it turned out pretty well I thought.”
Woodland displayed where they fit in with the other Bartow County teams as they finished second in the county championship. The Lady Wildcats also nearly made the state tournament, which would have been an impressive turnaround considering their overall record.
“We were one spot short. We won three matches in the area tournament and we were beating North Paulding, but we ended up just losing to them,” Condon said. “That’s who we had to beat to reach the state tournament and we came up a little bit short against them.”
North Paulding defeated Woodland 22-25, 25-21 and 25-15. The Lady ’Cats nearly won the match in two sets.
“We went through a little stretch there where we lost seven points. One of their servers just scored seven points in a row and that just kind of deflated our girls,” Condon said “So we came in fifth in the area tournament, and we were the eighth seed. That shows you we were playing better at the end of the year. We put two teams, Rome and Villa Rica, out of the are tournament and they both beat us in the regular season.”
Cass nearly makes state
The Cass volleyball team was inconsistent in 2013.
The Lady Colonels went through winning streaks and losing streaks, finishing the season fifth in the area.
“We did pretty well [in the area tournament],” first-year head coach Alicen Webster said. “I thought we were actually going to make it to state because we were beating everyone.”
The Lady Colonels took their lumps during the season, but showed flashes of what they were capable of. They finished fifth in the area during the regular season and fifth in the area tournament.
“I think it was a motivation factor because they knew that if they didn’t play well that that would be the end of it, and I think that was kind of a reality check,” Webster said of why her team played well in the area tournament. “We actually had to play for our death. I wish I could have found some way to motivate them that way all season.”
Despite coming just short of the state playoffs, Webster is pleased with her team’s efforts.
“I wasn’t disappointed because they brought everything they had,” she said of her team after it was eliminated for the area tournament. “We struggled all season. The season was rough and it was rough that we didnt make it to state, but we did fight for it. So I was proud of them for that.”
Webster just wishes her team would have shown more fight during the regular season.
“My overall impressions of the season would be, I knew they had what they needed to play and they showed that at times,” Webster said of her players. “I just wish they would have shown that all season because they were totally capable of doing that, but they showed up at the area tournament when it counted the most.”