Briarwood advances to Elite Eight

Published 9:17 pm Thursday, October 22, 2009

The sub-state round of the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 5A volleyball playoffs turned out to be a sister act for the Briarwood Christian School Lions.

Junior Kate Carter and freshman Claire Carter stole the show to lead the Lions to a 25-17, 25-14, 25-12 sweep of Monroe County, which qualified Briarwood for the Elite Eight on Oct. 28-29 at the Pelham Civic Complex.

Briarwood will face Muscle Shoals in the Class 5A quarterfinals Oct. 28 at 9:30 a.m.

Kate led the Lions (31-23) with nine kills. Claire led Briarwood with 15 assists.

It was the first time the two sisters had seen extended playing time together this season. Claire saw her most extensive action of the season as she played the entire second set in the sub-state match.

“I was really nervous, but it was a lot of fun,” Claire said.

Kate said playing with her sister was a neat experience and she looks forward to seeing her younger sibling on the court more often next season.

“It was amazing,” Kate said. “I’ve never played with her before. Getting to double-team it was awesome.”

Julia Hoke added eight kills in the win.

Briarwood coach Justin Dee said potential opponents in the state tournament at Pelham shouldn’t overlook the Lions because of their record.

“It’s been a struggle,” Dee said. “It’s been an up-and-down year. We were under .500 for a few games. But we feel good about how we’re playing right now.”

Despite 23 losses, the Lions are undefeated against Class 5A teams.

“We know we can hang with St. Paul’s, Hartselle and Muscle Shoals,” Dee said.