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Hirschfeld leads No. 10 Centennial to back-to-back wins in Malcolm

Hirschfeld leads No. 10 Centennial to back-to-back wins in Malcolm

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LEDE

News-Times/Steve Marik

Centennial senior Kate Hirschfeld connects on a kill during the early parts of the first set against Fort Calhoun on Thursday night in Malcolm. Hirschfeld unofficially notched five kills in the Broncos’ first-set win.

MALCOLM, Neb. — The Centennial Broncos volleyball team got off to a solid start at Thursday’s Malcolm Invite, beating both the Fort Calhoun Pioneers and Fairbury Jeffs to improve to 7-2 on the season.

The invite is a two-day event, with action resuming on Saturday. Centennial, No. 10 in the Lincoln Journal Star’s Class C-2 ratings, will play Malcolm at 9 a.m. on Saturday and Ashland-Greenwood at 11 a.m.

Centennial 2, Fort Calhoun 0

After going up 6-0 in the first set, the Broncos withstood a rally from the Pioneers and won 25-23.

Kate Hirschfeld led Centennial with five kills while senior Jaci Opfer added three.

The set was tied for the first time at 17, then again at 18 before Centennial actually trailed 20-18. The Broncos wound up outscoring Fort Calhoun 7-3 down the stretch, which included a block and a kill from Opfer, who had 170 assists coming into the contest, and a kill from freshman Karly Naber.

Centennial got an early lead in the second set and kept it this time. Behind seven kills from Hirschfeld, which gave her 12 total against Fort Calhoun, the Broncos kept their foot on the gas and won 25-16.

The Broncos held leads of 5-2, 10-6 and 15-13 before pulling away. A Hirschfeld kill put the Broncos on top 17-13 and forced the Pioneers to call a timeout. The stoppage in play didn’t seem to cool off Centennial, though, as it went on an 8-3 run that featured three kills from Hirschfeld, who came into Thursday leading the team in kills (88) and digs (72), and an ace block from senior Kiley Rathjen.

Fort Calhoun (4-2) 23 16 — 0

Centennial (6-2) 25 25 — 2

Centennial 2, Fairbury 1

After taking the first set over the Jeffs 25-20, Centennial couldn’t keep the good vibes going in the second. Fairbury responded with a 25-16 victory to even the match at 1, which led to a deciding third set.

A Rathjen kill gave Centennial a 13-8 lead, but Fairbury didn’t go away quietly. The Jeffs wound up tying the set at 17, then took an 18-17 edge that forced Centennial head coach Alex Anstine to call a timeout.

Like the previous match against Fort Calhoun, the timeout didn’t seem to work.

Hirschfeld came out of the stoppage and pounded back-to-back kills to give the Broncos a 20-18 lead, and the Jeffs called time themselves a bit later trailing 21-18.

Centennial sealed the win shortly after with a 4-0 run that included an ace serve from Hirschfeld.

Fairbury (0-4) 20 25 18 — 1

Centennial (7-2) 25 16 25 — 2

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