Briarwood defeats Gardendale in volleyball opener

Defending Class 5A runner-up Briarwood Christian School got the 2009 volleyball season started on a good note with a 25-16, 25-12, 25-17 sweep of Gardendale Thursday at the BCS campus.

Julia Hoke led the Lions with 11 kills. Hoke also had three aces. Kate Carter had eight kills and four digs. Sara Kate Bracewell finished with seven kills and seven digs, while Kit Stallings had 10 digs and four aces.

“I think we played really well tonight,” said Briarwood coach Justin Dee. “Our team goal is to stay consistent.”

Dee said Briarwood faces tough competition this weekend in the Lions’ annual Serve-Off Tournament, which begins Friday and wraps up Saturday. A portion of the gate and concession receipts will go to a financial aid fund in memory of former Briarwood volleyball coach Barry Walker, who passed away in February.

The Lions will host Muscle Shoals and Daphne, two of the top teams in the state, in pool play on the first day of the tournament.

“We don’t get any time to rest,” Dee said. “It’s going to be a good tournament. There will be a lot of good teams there.”

In other volleyball action Thursday, Thompson defeated Hewitt-Trussville 27-25, 25-16, 23-25, 22-25, 15-13 in its season opener. Candice Powers led the Warriors with 10 kills. Holli Brown and Michelle Chase had nine kills each.

The Warriors host Albertville and defending Class 6A champion Bob Jones in pool play in the Juanita Boddie tournament Friday.