Capital players

Capital volleyball players celebrate a point Friday at the Bears Den a in 3-0 win over Kalispell Flathead, which was the 65th-straight victory for CHS. 

HELENA  The win for Helena Capital Friday against Kalispell Flathead wasn't necessarily a work of art. But it counted as the 65th consecutive win for the Bruins all the same, as they tied Billings Senior's Class AA state record. 

The match started a little more than 14 hours after Capital rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat crosstown rival Helena High in five sets Thursday night, but the Bruins still cruised to a sweep by the scores of 25-12, 26-24 and 25-16.

"I am not just thinking about today's match," Capital head coach Rebecca Cleveland. "But the entirety of the 65 and the teammates who have graduated that contributed to it and then the team this year that added to it."

The usual suspects led the Bruins to victory with Paige Bartsch registering 12 kills, three blocks and four aces. The two biggest kills from Bartsch came in the second set, with the score tied 24-24. 

Capital won the first set with ease, but Flathead led for much of the way in the second and survived match point twice, before Bartsch notched back-to-back kills to give CHS a 2-0 advantage.

"Did we play the best match today? No," Cleveland said. "Are we satisfied? No and I am hoping that will fuel us to get prepared for Missoula Sentinel."

In the third, the Bruins won by nine and finished off their 65th-straight win on an ace from Dani Bartsch, who finished four aces total, as well as 11 kills and three blocks. 

"I'm very excited and very relieved," Dani Bartsch said. "The anxiety is over and the stress is over and now we can just play."

Senior Audrey Hofer added 24 assists and the former Gatorade Player of the Year talked about how it feels to win 65 in a row.

"It's amazing," Hofer said. "Since our sophomore year, losing crosstown to Helena High. That was our only our loss that season, so if we didn't have that it would be higher, but I'm not really focused on that, I'm just focused on the next match and how we can improve for that."

Capital which is now 10-0 on the season, is still 35 wins behind the state record of 101, which was set by Huntley Project. But the Bruins can make the Class AA mark, which was set by Senior from 2006-09, all their own, with a win Tuesday night at the Bears Den against Missoula Sentinel at 6 p.m.

"Leading up to this season I didn't know our count until a media person asked me," Cleveland said. "So it's not on my mind and I don't want it to be all-consuming for them (the players) but it would great to take a win on Tuesday, more for our team and our progress for the season, and then the 66 would just be icing on the cake."

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

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