Audrey Hofer

Helena Capital’s Audrey Hofer attempts to bump set a serve from Missoula Big Sky in a recent game in the Bears Den.

HELENA — Helena Capital High volleyball player Audrey Hofer couldn't have ended her sophomore campaign any better.

At the conclusion of the season as the Bruins setter, Hofer led her team to a Class AA state championship title and now can add Montana volleyball Gatorade Player of the Year honor to her ever-growing and impressive resume.

Hofer, daughter of Carroll College assistant volleyball coach Tiffany Hofer, received the news about receiving Montana's Gatorade POY honors in her e-mail in-box Tuesday morning.

Hofer admits she was surprised to receive the honor, after finding out two weeks ago, she was a finalist.

"I didn't think about it too much because there were so many amazing players we have in Montana on that list," Hofer said. "When I got the e-mail this morning I was just shocked. I didn't see it coming."

Hofer credited her mom and teammates for capturing the honor.

"(Winning the honor) It was surreal, and when I was younger my mom always pushed me to play with the older kids, and I pushed myself harder to be the best I could and be prepared to take on whatever challenges they threw at me."

After all she has accomplished, she won't rest on her laurels. 

"I think as a player you want to be hungry for more," Hofer said. "You are always thinking in your head 'I could have made that play better or done something better.'"

Hofer's stat lines were a statistical double take last season. Hofer finished with 54 aces, 828 assists, 162 digs, a .325 attack efficiency average and 42 blocks, all stats including the playoffs.

"Audrey always uses every opportunity to learn and grow," Bruins coach Rebecca Cleveland said. "She puts in extra time after practice and going to her mom's collegiate practice, she attends open gyms and is just a workhorse willing to put in the extra hours to hone her craft. She's grown into a leader and is intelligent and motivating players for her teammates."

Hofer defeated one of her teammates, Sarah Ashley, who was a finalist for the Montana Gatorade Player of the Year award. She was also the Western AA Player of the Year Award winner.

"She is an intelligent player who knows how to find the hot hitter and key into her, and she initiates all of that on her own and doesn't look to the bench for the coaches' input, she just runs with it," Cleveland said. "She did a great job of showcasing her talent in a sport where usually the outside or middle hitter gets the recognition. It's great to see Gatorade acknowledging the quarterback behind-the-scenes of the offense, and that is pretty cool."

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