Cartersville volleyball set the tone early, scoring the first six points of a first-round state tournament matchup against Chestatee Thursday and going on to beat the Lady War Eagles 25-12, 25-13, 25-17.
“I was really excited when I saw the energy we came out with,” Cartersville coach Dutch Cothran said. “We started out the season getting behind a lot ... so it’s been nice these last couple of matches to jump out in front and play from ahead.”
The win moves the No. 1 seed Lady Canes into the second round of state and gives them another home match against Heritage, Catoosa next Tuesday at the Storm Center.
Against Chestatee, it was clear from the start that the Lady Canes had come to play.
In front of one of their largest crowds of the year, their quick start was punctuated by joyous cheers on every point.
“It felt like we were in our system the entire time on the first two sets,” Cothran said.”
There was a lot to celebrate.
Catie Heilman was stellar on the outside as usual, and Chestatee had no one to match the height of Nedu and Elsa Evans (no relation) through the middle, allowing the two to dominate.
The Lady War Eagles did adjust to Cartersville’s game plan and make a run early in the third set to cut Cartersville’s lead to 11-10.
“We were placing a lot of balls to the perimeter of the court,” Cothran said. “That was open for the first two sets, and then apparently during the intermission, [Chestatee] discussed some adjustments, so when we started setting our outsides, they were more out to the perimeter, trying to force us to hit the ball or tip the ball or the ball towards the middle.”
That was the closest they got, though, as the Lady Canes reestablished themselves and closed out the match with a nice run.
Elsa Evans powered a kill off the Chestatee block for the final point, wrapping up a professional display that has Cothran excited about his team’s chances.
“There’s a level of confidence that our girls are playing with right now that I’m very happy with,” Cothran said. “They’re keeping it under control, doing a good job of not getting too overconfident.”