HELENA — "One of the best matches that we've had the opportunity to experience as a team this season."
That's how Helena Capital head volleyball coach Rebecca Cleveland described the Bruins' 25-14, 25-27, 21-25, 25-20, 15-7 victory in the Class AA state semifinals over the Billings West Golden Bears on Tuesday.
The Bruins came out of the gates running, beating down West 25-14 in the first set. In the second set, the Bruins jumped out to a 15-11 lead before the Bears had a resurgence and battled their way back to a second-set victory, 27-25. The Bruins and Bears fought their way through the third set, battling through countless ties before the Bears took the initiative and snagged the set 25-21.
"I did talk about just letting the little things go and to continue trusting in their team, which they do so well," said Cleveland.
The Bears jumped out to an early lead in the fourth set before the Bruins found a spark and were able to knot up the set at 17-17. The Bruins were able to finally reset and nabbed the fourth set 25-20 to tie the match at 2-2.
"We just needed to work on minimizing our errors and maximizing the celebration on the little things," said Cleveland.
As the Bruins were headed into the final set of the match, Cleveland had one message for her team: "Go big, and just leave it all on the court with no regrets."
The Bruins listened and got out to a 10-2 set lead in the final set. The Bears battled back to a 12-6 deficit, but it was too little too late as the Bruins wrapped up the set and the match 15-7.
With the win, the two-time reigning champion Bruins will host the Great Falls CMR Rustlers for the Class AA state title game at 2 p.m. Saturday.