By the time the Lady Purple Hurricanes squared off with Woodland in the championship match Saturday at Cass High, the Lady Wildcats had twice as many supporters as Cartersville.
The Lady Canes seemed unfazed, as they remained volleyball crown holders with another county title win -- 25-13, 25-19.
"Our girls are very emotionally sound," Cartersville coach Scott Busby said. "They don't let the little things get to them. Any time the crowd cheers against 'em, it just pumps them up more and gets 'em in the game. It actually allows them to focus more than dead silence."
"I'm happy for our seniors. A couple of the girls have been at the varsity level for four straight years. They got four championships," Busby continued. "They carried us through today so, hopefully, that'll carry us on the rest of the season."
Despite perhaps its best stretch of volleyball on the season, Woodland -- which played better in the second game against the Lady Canes -- had to settle for runner-up as its attempt to unseat Cartersville as champion went unrealized.
"We're playing better in general right now, too" Lady Wildcats coach David Condon said. "The only problem is they are also."
"The girls have definitely come together as a team more," Condon continued. "They're being more supportive of each other; they're picking each other up a lot better, especially the seniors."
Woodland never trailed by more than six points in the second game and even led by one early on, but the Lady Canes scored four consecutive points to go up 24-18 late in the game.
The Canes held on to win by six.
In the championship match, the Lady Canes were led by Jessica Boss, who had six kills. Lyndsey Jones added four kills and two blocks, Stefanie Will also had four kills and Samantha Conley, who was named tournament MVP, finished with 14 assists and seven aces.
"We've been coming around on our serve; we've changed a couple of servers out, found our rotation," Busby said. "I think the biggest change for us today, we really cut back on unforced errors. ... We played a lot cleaner today."
Cartersville had been averaging eight or nine unforced errors per game, he said, but sliced that number down to four or five per game.
"The big thing for us is we're still growing as a team," Busby added. "We haven't come close to peaking yet this season."
Woodland got five kills from Bekah Ayers and three kills and two aces from Whitney Waits in the championship match. Ayers and Waits were the Lady Wildcats' two representatives on the all-tournament team.
"I'm very pleased because we are winning some games now and playing better, so it's very encouraging," said Condon, whose team beat the host Lady Colonels in the semifinals.
After losing its previous four matches with Cass, Woodland finally tipped the scale in its favor with a 23-25, 25-23, 25-17 win.
"Woodland was playing pretty good. My hat's off to 'em," Cass assistant Jamie Horton said. "I think they had our number that game. You can only roll the dice so many times without them getting you."
In the decisive third game, the Lady Colonels' Brooklyn Whitener, an all-tournament selection, rolled her ankle while celebrating.
"It definitely hurt us," Horton acknowledged of the Cass attack, which looked uncertain the rest of the way as Woodland closed the match with a few more points.
"The girl's a sophomore. She'll get another opportunity at it," Horton said. "That's the good thing, we're a young team.
"Hopefully, we'll get to come back and we'll see what happens next year."
Cass (6-12, 2-2 Area 7-AAAA) has remaining matches at Kell and vs. Sequoyah Tuesday; at Creekview Thursday; and at Sprayberry and vs. Northwest Whitfield Oct. 5.
Woodland (6-17, 2-2) has remaining matches vs. Sprayberry and at Pope Tuesday; vs. Osborne, vs. Kell and at Allatoona Thursday; and at Sequoyah and vs. Creekview Oct. 5.
The Area 7-AAAA tournament begins Oct. 7 for the Lady Colonels and Lady Wildcats.
"Even though we have a lot of good teams in our area, we also have teams we can beat. If we can actually get seeded, maybe in the middle of the pack, we might be able to against some teams we can actually play against," Condon said of Woodland's chances. "The issue that we've got is we got Pope, Sequoyah, Creekview and Sprayberry coming up. ... It doesn't get easier obviously. That's the hardest stretch of it all, but the girls, they'll stay positive, they'll play hard."
Adairsville (0-11, 0-4 Area 6-AA/A) has remaining matches at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe, vs. Sonoraville and vs. Gordon Lee Tuesday.
The Area 6-AA/A tournament begins Oct. 5.
Cartersville (15-11, 3-1 Area 6-AAA) has remaining matches vs. Riverwood and at Harrison Thursday.
The Area 6-AAA tournament begins Oct. 9.
"I think right now everything looks positive going into the (area) tournament," Busby said. "We're going as the No. 2 (seed), couple of good teams in the tournament, but I don't see any team that we can't beat."
Below are results and statistics from Saturday's Bartow County Volleyball Championships, as well as the all-tournament team.
Adairsville Lady Tigers
vs. Cartersville: L, 8-25, 11-25
vs. Woodland: L, 20-25, 13-25
Cartersville Lady Canes
vs. Adairsville: W, 25-8, 25-11 (Janezka Cruz 8 aces; Katie O'Connor 4 kills, 3 aces; Stefanie Will 4 kills, 4 aces, 2 digs; Samantha Conley 15 assists)
vs. Cass: W, 25-16, 25-18 (Will 6 kills; O'Connor 5 kills, 1 ace; Megan Patton 4 digs)
vs. Woodland: W, 25-13, 25-19 (Jessica Boss 6 kills; Lyndsey Jones 4 kills, 2 blocks; Will 4 kills; Conley 14 assists, 7 aces)
Cass Lady Colonels
vs. Woodland: W, 25-22, 25-10
vs. Cartersville: L, 25-16, 25-18
vs. Woodland: L, 25-23, 23-25, 17-25
Woodland Lady Wildcats
vs. Cass: L, 22-25, 10-25
vs. Adairsville: W, 25-20, 25-13 (Bekah Ayers 4 aces, 4 kills; Sarah Lillard 4 aces, 2 kills, 1 block)
vs. Cass: W, 23-25, 25-23, 25-17 (Two-match totals: Ayers 10 kills; Whitney Waits 5 assists, 3 kills, 2 aces; Jordan Deleva 5 kills, 3 blocks)
vs. Cartersville: L, 13-25, 19-25 (Ayers 5 kills; Waits 3 kills, 2 aces)
Bartow County Volleyball Championships
Kelsey Hice, Adairsville
Ashley Metroka, Adairsville
Hannah Delia, Cass
Brooklyn Whitener, Cass
Bekah Ayers, Woodland (19 kills, 4 aces)
Whitney Waits, Woodland (6 kills, 5 assists, 4 aces)
Megan Patton, Cartersville (4 digs)
Stefanie Will, Cartersville (14 kills, 4 aces, 2 digs)
Tournament MVP: Samantha Conley, Cartersville (45 assists, 7 aces)