An inexperienced Cartersville volleyball team is getting baptized by fire early in the season, especially playing in the super-competitive Sequoyah Classic this weekend.
The Canes hung tough with Class 6A Centennial in a 25-20, 28-26 defeat before suffering a 25-14, 25-8 loss to fellow 2018 Class 4A state semifinalist Columbus on Friday at Etowah.
"We played well and fought hard against Centennial," Cartersville head coach Dutch Cothran said. "We found some things that work for us, so I was proud of that."
Against the Knights, Lauren Wenzell piled up 14 kills, seven digs and three aces to lead the Canes (1-3). Halle Matthews chipped in with six kills and three blocks. Macey Vaughn contributed with 19 assists.
Things didn't go quite as well against the Blue Devils later Friday night. Despite hanging around for part of the first set, Cartersville saw Columbus pull away for a relatively straight-forward win. Having played four matches in two days and with more to come Saturday, Cothran gave his starters a rest in the second set.
"We played well in spurts," Cothran said. "... We're growing, and I feel like we're going to be fine in the long run."
Cartersville continues pool play against East Coweta at 9 a.m. Saturday at Etowah.