Helena Capital volleyball pink

Helena Capital volleyball players celebrate Saturday at the Bears Den in a match against Butte High. The Bruins won in straight sets. 

HELENA – The Helena Capital Bruins notched their 63rd victory in a row Saturday at the Bears Den as they swept the Butte Bulldogs 25-14, 25-12, 25-23.

A fundraising effort for cancer research, Helena Capital’s Pink Game had the Bruins motivated to come out of the gates swinging.

“The start in our first and second sets is what we were really hoping for; that first team to five, an aggressive five,” said Bruins coach Rebecca Cleveland. “I’m proud of the way we came out and played both of those first two sets. We had a little bit of a slower start on the third set, but I’m still really proud of our team’s efforts on the court and also with our fundraising.”

The first set began with a 9-1 run by Capital and ended with the Bruins on a 7-0 run. The second set got out of hand even quicker. Bruins hitters were peppering the perimeter with their spikes and when the offense would find itself in a brief lull, the defense was there to pick up the slack.

“It’s great to have a back-row outlet,” Cleveland said. “We always want to have four hitters available, if possible. So if we have three hitters in the front row, we always want to have one in the back row. In our offense, we utilize the back row in system – meaning, even with a good pass we can go to that back-row hitter and know that they can put the ball down.”

Paige Bartsch led the way with 13 of the Bruins 34 kills and Audrey Hofer had 29 of Capital’s 34 assists. Paige racked up five blocks and twin sister Dani Bartsch had 13 digs.

The Bulldogs pushed the Bruins to the limit in the final set but eventually Capital prevailed for its eighth victory of the season.

“We could have rolled over fairly easy and just called it a day,” Butte coach Shane Jorgensen said. “Just trying to get them to come out and have fun; we knew where we were at today. Capital’s a great team. They’re amazing and our goal was to get 20 points (in a set). So to put up 23 (in the third set), I think it was a pretty good day for us.”

“It’s just one of many battles,” Cleveland added. “We win the battle on the court, that’s awesome. We’re fighting with purpose today and that is to support those – fundraising-wise – who are fighting cancer. We have a lot of names on our poster in the gym of people who we were playing in honor of, so it’s a very significant game not only for our season, but more importantly for our loved ones.”

Capital will face Helena High on Thursday for the second crosstown match of the year.

Matthew Kiewiet covers high school and community sports for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Email him at matthew.kiewiet@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter @IRmattkiewiet.

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