LINCOLN — In a battle of top-four teams, No. 2 North Bend downed fourth-ranked Malcolm 25-17, 15-25, 25-17, 25-23 on Thursday in the opening round of the Class C-1 state tournament at Lincoln North Star.

It was North Bend’s second win over the Clippers this season. The Tigers swept them in a regular-season match Sept. 28.

Sophomore Lauren Emanuel’s kill put North Bend up 20-17 in the opening set. Malcolm was shut out the rest of the game.

In the second game, Malcolm’s Jaela Zimmerman had seven kills to help the Clippers even the match.

“I thought we held Zimmerman pretty strong in that first set,” North Bend coach Amy Sterup said. “Then she got away from us the second set. We keyed in on her again. Zimmerman’s an excellent player. When you can put up a block like we did and she’s still getting around that block, she’s a good player.”

Zimmerman finished the match with 25 kills and eight digs.

North Bend only led 11-10 in the third set, but Midland University recruit Brooke Fredrickson had an ace serve and a kill to push the advantage to 14-11. Megan Ortmeier had an ace serve while Emanuel had a block and a kill to help the Tigers pull away in the set.

The fourth set was back-and-fourth. Brooklyn Minzel’s kill put the Clippers up 19-18, but West Virginia recruit Kristin Lux took over.

Lux had four kills down the stretch while Emanuel ended the match with a kill.

Lux, who was playing with a pulled left quadriceps muscle, finished with 18 kills, 25 digs and three blocks.

“I think she was just a little mad,” Sterup said of Lux. “I think they were kind of pinpointing her in that second set, and so I think she came out on fire and did what she needed to do.”

Fredrickson had a team-best 19 kills and added 18 digs. Kaitlyn Bjorklund finished with 10 digs and 46 set assists. Ortmeier had eight kills and Emanuel five. Hailey Bang contributed 19 digs while Kiley Allgood had three aces.

Malcolm finishes its season 28-3. North Bend will take on No. 4 Wahoo at 1 p.m. Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

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