However, when Darlington gave Cartersville life in the two teams' second game later in the evening, the Lady Canes made the most of it, winning the final two games and the match.
"We came out flat, didn't perform well," Cartersville coach Scott Busby said of his team's 20-25, 25-10, 25-20 win over the Lady Tigers. "We had a lot of miscommunication."
The Lady Canes shored up those communication problems in the second game, jumping out to a 15-4 lead before Darlington scored four straight points to prompt a Cartersville timeout.
The Lady Canes held on for a comfortable 15-point win.
In the decisive third game, things were much closer between the two rivals with the lead never getting beyond four points until Cartersville scored the final point.
The Lady Tigers got out to a 5-2 lead, but the Lady Canes kept battling, tying the game at 11-all on a Kiley Perkins ace.
Cartersville never trailed the rest of the way.
Busby said the Lady Canes were able to come back in their match with Darlington by neutralizing its attack from the middle.
"We took their middle away from them," he said.
Senior Lyndsey Jones -- who finished with eight kills and four blocks on the night -- and freshman Katie O'Connor -- who had eight kills, three blocks and five assists -- factored into Cartersville's ability to do so.
"She's gotten better each game," said Busby of the young O'Connor, who may have been the Lady Canes' most consistent performer all night.
Against the Lady Raiders, Cartersville got nipped twice -- 21-25, 22-25 -- despite Southeast Whitfield never really putting them away.
After knotting the first game at 21-all, the Lady Canes watched the Lady Raiders score four straight points to put the game away.
In Game 2, Cartersville and Southeast Whitfield were all tied up at 9 before the Lady Raiders ran off seven straight points.
The Lady Canes fought to get within one on a couple of occasions -- 18-17 after a Jessica Boss ace and 19-18 following a kill from Stefanie Will -- but faltered down the stretch even though Southeast Whitfield never really closed the door.
Trailing 22-20, a bad Cartersville serve gave the Lady Raiders a three-point lead, which lasted about a split second until Southeast's own serving error.
A Lady Cane then jumped into the net to give the Lady Raiders a 24-21 edge, but Southeast again failed on its serve, giving the ball to Cartersville with a slight 24-22 lead.
The Lady Canes' next error, however, ended the game.
"We were in the game the whole way through," said Busby, who noted his team made a few mental errors toward the end of its match with the Lady Raiders. "That boils down to serving mistakes."
Defensively, though, Busby said Cartersville played one its best matches of the season.
Samantha Conley finished the night with 25 assists for the Lady Canes, Meg Patton had five digs and Janezka Cruz tallied six kills.
Cartersville (9-11) will host Cass and Calhoun Thursday for its Senior Night before it plays in the Bartow County Championships, which begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Cass.