(Editor's note: Watch video highlights from Day 1 at state by scrolling through the videos above)
BOZEMAN -- Volleyball fans will get the Class AA matchup they hoped for on Friday in the undefeated semifinal after Great Falls CMR swept past Billings Senior, setting up a showdown with undefeated, defending champion Helena Capital.
The Rustlers topped the Broncs 25-13, 25-12, 25-18 in Thursday's final match, dominating all facets of the game. Allie Olsen had 22 of the Rustlers' 37 kills, while Tennisen Hiller picked up 28 assists in the win. Lauren Lindseth had a match-high 15 digs for CMR, which defeated Butte in the opening round.
CMR held Senior to only 16 kills, five which came from Bailey King, and 14 assists. The Broncs got eight assists from Jensen Keller and five from Emma Hanson, while King had an impressive five blocks against the Rustler attack. But after upsetting Helena High in a five-set thriller to open the tournament, the Broncs fall to loser-out action against either Missoula Sentinel or Bozeman.
CMR and Capital clash Friday night at 6 p.m. in the undefeated semifinal.
Helena Capital def. Billings West 24-26, 25-16, 25-18, 25-11
A loss in the first set in Thursday's Class AA state quarterfinal wasn't what Helena Capital hoped for, but it may have been exactly what the Bruins needed.
Last year's Class AA volleyball champion dropped the opening set 24-26 to Billings West, but won the next three in a four-set victory. The Bruins defeated the Bears 24-26, 25-16, 25-18, 25-11.
Capital's offense once again led the charge, with Sarah Ashley hitting for 17 kills to lead the Bruins. Paige Bartsch added 14 as Capital posted 52 overall. Audrey Hofer assisted on 36 of the Bruins' points, and Capital dished up 11 aces in the win. Dani Bartsch had five, while Paige Bartsch and Ashley each added three.
West didn't back down in the rematch of last year's undefeated semifinal, but the opening-set win wasn't enough to spark the Bears back to Friday evening. Kaitlin Grossman led the team with nine kills, Taylor Graham had 19 assists and Molly Nault had 15 digs.
Capital is guaranteed a state trophy with its win Thursday and next faces Great Falls CMR in a highly-anticipated contest in Friday's 6 p.m. undefeated semifinal. Billings West will play at 4 p.m. Friday against either Butte or Helena High.
Billings Senior def. Helena High 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17, 15-11
Billings Senior overcame a two-set deficit to rally past Helena High, upsetting the Bengals in a five-set thriller on Thursday at the Class AA state volleyball tournament. The Broncs won by scores of 21-25, 20-25, 25-21, 25-17, 15-11.
Bailey King and Olivia LaBeau combined for 19 kills, but the biggest story was the Broncs' defense. Hailie George had 34 of Senior's 84 digs, while LaBeau, King and Kendra Curtis combined for 18 blocks against the Bengals. LaBeau also chipped in with three aces in the match, while Jensen Keller had 23 assists.
Helena got 11 kills from both Sarah Fischer and Liz Heuiser, while Emily Feller dished out 36 assists. Brooke Ark had five aces, while Aubrie Christman had four.
The Bengals fall to Friday loser-out action against Butte, with the match scheduled for noon. Senior advances to Thursday night's 8 p.m. quarterfinal against Great Falls CMR.
Great Falls CMR def. Butte 25-9, 25-17, 25-22
Allie Olsen had 18 kills and a whopping six blocks, as Great Falls CMR swept past Butte in the opening round of the Class AA state volleyball tournament in Bozeman. The Rustlers defeated the Bulldogs by scores of 25-9, 25-17, 25-22.
Olson, who signed to play college volleyball at Utah on Wednesday, was part of a 30-kill offensive attack for the Rustlers, who also got seven kills from Anna Broquist. Natalie Bosley joined Olson at the net with four blocks, as CMR amassed 11 overall. Norah Alen (3), Tennisen Hiller (1) and Allison Will (1) had all five of the Rustlers' aces. Hiller tallied 24 assists in the win.
Butte got seven kills from Brooke McGrath and five from MacKenzie Tutty, plus an impressive four blocks from Allyson Mueller, but couldn't ignite the offensive firepower to compete with the Rustlers. The Bulldogs will meet Helena High on Friday at noon, while CMR faces the Broncs in the quarterfinals. That match is scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday evening.
Billings West def. Great Falls CMR 25-23, 25-17, 25-19
Shauna Stene was credited with 12 kills and 6.5 blocks as Billings West swept past Missoula Sentinel at the Class AA state volleyball tournament in Bozeman on Thursday. West won by scores of 25-23, 25-17, 25-19.
Stene and Megan Benton (nine kills) played key roles in West coach Monica Grimsrud's offense, finding ways to keep the Spartans guessing. Molly Nault had a match-high 19 digs for the Bears, who also finished with 12 blocks.
Sheridan Schweyen had six kills and three aces to lead Sentinel, which next faces Bozeman in loser-out action on Friday morning. West meets Helena Capital Thursday at 6 p.m.
Helena Capital def. Bozeman 25-12, 25-22, 25-19
It wasn't easy, but defending champion Helena Capital defeated Bozeman in straight sets to open the Class AA state volleyball tournament on Thursday morning at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse in Bozeman. The Bruins won 25-12, 25-22, 25-19.
Audrey Hofer, Montana's defending Gatorade volleyball player of the year, orchestrated the Bruins' offense, posting 28 assists, with Paige Bartsch (13) and recent Montana Grizzly commit Sarah Ashley (nine) combining for 22 kills. Dani Bartsch added 11 digs, while sister Paige had nine and Ashley posted 10.
Hofer, all of 5-foot-7, also added four blocks in the win.
Bozeman made a push in the second set, with Sasha Hathaway and JoJo Raddick leading at the net. Hathaway finished with seven kills, while Raddick had five. Emma Fox had all 19 assists for the Hawks, who fall to loser-out action on Friday morning.
Helena Capital meets Billings West in Thursday's 6 p.m. match. Bozeman faces Missoula Sentinel on Friday morning.