HELENA -- The Helena Capital volleyball team didn't want to just beat Helena High Thursday night in crosstown volleyball, the Bruins wanted to make a statement, which they did with a 3-0 sweep.

"It feels really good," Helena Capital setter Audrey Hofer said. "We were nervous coming in and they are a very good team anyways but we wanted to make a statement and I thought we did that."

While the Bruins are No. 1 in Class AA and undefeated, head coach Rebecca Cleveland wasn't all that happy with their last win over Butte.

But Thursday night, at the Bears Den, she was pleased with her team's efforts following a win by the scores of 25-11, 25-16 and 25-21.

"The execution is what I wanted to see," Cleveland said. "Thinking about our last match in Butte, the biggest bummer is that we didn't play with joy. We were tense against Butte, when we are relaxed and having fun, we play our best volleyball."

The Bruins set the tone early in the first set as a block by Paige Bartsch and a kill by her twin sister, Dani Bartsch, allowed Capital to grab a quick 7-2 lead on their way to a 25-11 opening-set win.

It was a similar story in the second and third sets. The Bruins took the second by nine points and held off a Bengals rally in the third to ice the win.

"When Helena High had a couple of runs on us," Cleveland said. "We didn't sweat it. We kept going the entire night."

The Bartsch twins each put forth a dominant effort, yet no one was more productive than Paige Bartsch, who finished with 13 kills, six aces and five blocks. Dani Bartsch added 12 kills of her own, while Hofer pitched in with 30 assists.

As a team, the Bruins registered 40 kills compared to 25 for Helena High, which was led by Elizabeth Heuiser's nine. Caroline Bullock added four kills and Emily Feller contributed with 20 assists.

"We played so well as a team," Cleveland said. "All of our athletes contributed and we kept that high level of play."

The Bruins and their supporters were also dressed in pink to show support and raise money for those impacted by cancer, which was also a rousing success.

"It was really awesome," Cleveland said. "I feel like our fundraising efforts, not only wining the food drive for our school but also pink night, with the t-shirts and the airplane sales, have really stepped up."

Helena Capital came into the match ranked No. 1 in the AA coaches poll. Helena High was No. 2.

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Chris is the sports editor and lead preps reporter for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmpetey406

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