The TSSAA volleyball season starts this week and Hixson and Bradley Central are holding tournaments on the first weekend.
Hixson is hosting eight other TSSAA schools and Ridgeland from the GHSA on Saturday in the Hixson Invitational at Hixson High and Hixson Middle. Pool-play action is set to begin at 9 a.m. The final pool games are slated to start at 2 p.m.
The top two teams in the two pools will advance to the Gold bracket. The third- and fourth-place teams in both pools will comprise the Silver bracket, and the fifth-pace teams will play for the Bronze championship.
Gold and silver championships are scheduled to begin at 6.
Boyd-Buchanan, Central, Dalton and Rhea County will be among those competing along with the host Bearettes in the Bradley Bash this Friday and Saturday at Bradley Central.
Rare slow start
Three-time defending GHSA Class A softball champion Gordon Lee had a rough start to the 2013 season this past weekend, going 2-3 in the LFO tournament.
Gordon Lee was outscored 25-12 in the five games, losing to 2012 AAAA champion Northwest Whitfield, AAA runner-up Ringgold and AAAA power Heritage. After going a combined 110-4 the last three seasons, the Lady Trojans did not have the start coach Dana Mull expected, but they were not at full strength.
"We've just got to get healthy and we'll be all right," said Mull, who lost two-time Class A pitcher of the year Kalei Kimbrell to graduation. "I like our new pitchers and I think they are going to be good, but I guess I've been spoiled having all the returning depth we've had there in recent years."
Gordon Lee, which joined Northwest Whitfield as preseason No. 1-ranked teams in their respective classes, opens Region 6 play this week. The Chickamauga school wasn't the only highly ranked team to struggle this past weekend. Class AA No. 2 Dade County was 1-4, though the losses were to powers Northwest Whitfield, Heritage and Ringgold and to LaFayette, which has opened the season 10-0.
Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or firstname.lastname@example.org.