Lady Canes volleyball draws closer to area title

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The Cartersville High volleyball team has had its sights set on an area championship since the beginning of the season, and the team has been the favorite to do just that since a win over top-contender Sandy Creek two weeks ago.

After a convincing win the first round of the Area 5-AAAA Tournament Wednesday, the Lady Canes are now one day away from possibly reaching that goal and earning a No. 1 seed in the state tournament.

The Lady Canes easily defeated Troup Wednesday in two sets, 25-13 and 25-19, to advance past the first round and clinch a state-playoff berth.

“I loved our pregame preparation and the attitudes we brought today,” Cartersville coach Dutch Cothran said after Wednesday’s match. “The girls were very relaxed on the bus, but that all changed when we stepped off. We played like we were hungry, and we looked like the team who had gone 6-0 in the region.”

The semifinal and final of the area tournament will be today at the Storm Center, beginning with Cartersville’s match at 5:30 p.m.

The tournament is not a true double-elimination format, and even if Cartersville wins its first match to be the lone team remaining in the winner’s bracket, the Lady Canes would still have to win the next match against the survivor from the loser’s bracket to be crowned Area 5-AAAA champs.

For now, though, the Lady Canes are happy to be moving on and to have earned a place in the state tournament with their win over Troup.

“Catie Heilman was huge all the way around for us. Both of our middles put a lot of balls away,” Cothran said. “While our serve-receive wasn't as good as I'd like it, our defense was really good.”

Also of note, Heilman was named Area MVP, and Grace Hunter and Nedu Evans were named to all-area first team.

Cartersville is now 24-3 on the season.