Just nine days earlier, Centennial surrendered a two-sets-to-zero lead in a 3-2 volleyball loss to Bakersfield High School.

With the two teams meeting again in the postseason, the Golden Hawks had no desire to let history repeat itself.

Eighth-seeded Centennial jumped out to big leads in all three sets and advanced to the second round of the Central Section Division I Playoffs with a 25-11, 25-21, 25-17 sweep of the ninth-seeded Drillers.

The Golden Hawks controlled the first set from the start. They opened up a 9-1 lead early then put together a 6-0 run late for good measure to cruise to a 14-point win.

It was more early dominance in the second. After the Drillers scored the first two points of the set, the Golden Hawks scored the next 10, taking the lead for good on a kill by Juliana Alexander.

The Drillers made a game of it as back-to-back aces by Ava Palm started a rally that got them within two points on three separate occasions.

But thanks to a pair of Nariah Prescott kills, Centennial survived the comeback attempt. The second Prescott kill came with a stroke of luck, as a desperation, over-the-head lunge made it over the net and on the line, giving Centennial a 24-21 lead.

"I thought it was going to land out," Prescott said of the shot. "I actually didn't see it hit the line, so when everyone was cheering, I was like 'What happened? Did I hit it in?'"

With the Drillers on the edge of elimination, the Golden Hawks wasted little time knocking them off. It was another fast start — an 8-0 run after BHS scored the opening point — that set the tone in set three.

Golden Hawks players said they carried the harsh memories of the Oct. 22 loss to BHS with them on Thursday, and used them to put the match away.

"Everyone was so focused and determined to win because of what happened last time," Prescott said. "And we came together and we won."

Centennial will now try to bounce back from another tough regular season matchup when it travels to face top-seeded Clovis North on Tuesday.

Down a couple key players, the Broncos, who finished with a 38-3 record, controlled the Golden Hawks from the start in a 25-10, 25-9, 25-9 sweep on Sept. 12.

Now at full strength, Centennial coach Holly Franks is expecting a far better showing.

"It'll definitely be a significantly different game than last time," Franks said. "I'm definitely looking forward to going up there and showing them a new team."

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