HELENA — In a crosstown thriller that featured several ups and downs, the Helena High Bengals volleyball team was able to pull out the victory with a five-set victory over the Helena Capital Bruins 25-14, 23-25, 11-25, 25-20, 17-15.
When asked, Helena High head volleyball coach Linsdey Day said she had no idea how long it's been since Helena High was able to accomplish a regular-season sweep of their crosstown rival.
"No clue. That long ago," said Day with a laugh.
The match played out in a similar fashion to the first meeting of the season between the two teams with the Bengals taking the first set with little resistance from the Bruins with Lauren Heuiser ending the set with one of her game-high 19 kills.
The Bruins were able to find their footing in the second set narrowly edging out the Bengals, before dominating the third set behind an 8-0 run to open the frame and a 7-0 run to jump out to a 15-3 lead before taking a 2-1 match lead. Racheal Stacey recorded both set-ending kills in the second and third for two of her team-high 16 kills. Kayla Almquist led the match with 27 of the Bruins' 31 assists.
Though the Bruins were looking to shut the match quickly in the fourth set to stave off the sweep, the Bengals were able to find some momentum and lead nearly the entire way through the fourth set to knot the match up on a Sydney Mattfeldt kill.
The fifth set was a nail-biter that needed some extra time to wrap up. Neither team was able to truly jump out in front to the point where both teams were tied at 15-15, before Alex Bullock was able to seal the match with two straight kills.
"I was kind of in shock. I didn't think it was going to be over yet. I thought we were still going to keep fighting, but once it was over, it was over," said Mattfeldt." It felt so good."
Bullock said the only thing on her mind with the match in the balance, was to be on the attack.
"Usually in tight scenes, some teams tense up and tend to make an easy move, but I wanted to have that killer instinct to put it down and make my team proud," said Bullock. "I was getting pretty tired at the end. My hands were shaking — they're still shaking — it's just crazy adrenaline from the crowd screaming."
With the win, the Bengals move to 7-3 in conference play and 11-9 overall and the Bruins fall to 5-5, 9-11 overall.
The Helena's and Capital's next tests will come on Thursday when they welcome in Kalispell Glacier and Kalispell Flathead, respectively.