HELENA — When the state champion Helena Capital High volleyball team cruised to its first title in 16 years, while posting a dazzling 27-2 record for the most wins in school history, the Bruins were spearheaded by a plethora of evenly-talented athletes.
Capital’s postseason awards to date consist of three all-staters and two all-conference selections. Among those are sophomore setter Audrey Hofer.
Hofer passed for Capital’s second-highest season total of assists with 828, behind record-holder Katie Polette’s 926 in 2002.
She ranked in the top five at Capital in four other categories, including No. 3 with 54 service aces (fourth on the school’s all-time list), and at 5-foot-7, also tied for third with 42 blocks. She was fourth on the team with 162 digs and No. 5 at 110 kills.
Hofer was selected the Western Conference’s MVP, and was one of three Bruins to earn first-team all-state citations, along with Sarah Ashley and Paige Bartsch.
And now, Hofer is the Independent Record's All-Area Volleyball Player of the Year.
“Audrey helped our hitters out by setting them up in good situations to get kills, and that really helped with the success of our team,” said junior outside hitter Sarah Ashley, a two-time all-stater and last year’s IR Player of the Year. “Her work ethic and competitiveness are two things she keeps very consistent. Audrey gives 100 percent effort for her team every game and I think that has attributed to her success this year.”
Hofer first started playing volleyball in the fourth grade, under the tutelage of her mom, Tiffany (Hopfauf) Hofer. Tiffany was a Carroll College all-American, and former Helena High coach.
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Her regular season match highs for the year were 43 assists against Flathead, six aces versus Missoula Big Sky.
After Capital garnered its first Western AA Division championship since 2002, in the opening round 3-0 win over CM Russell the state tournament in Bozeman, Hofer passed for 26 assists and matched her season aces record with four.
Next in Round 2, she posted 41 assists and 14 digs, with a career high of four blocks, in a five-set victory over Bozeman.
In the semifinals, a 3-0 victory over Eastern champion Billings West, Hofer passed for 29 assists, advancing the Bruins to the championship round.
Then in the finals, having to lose twice, CHS took care of business by dispatching of the Hawks in the first match 3-1. Hofer posted a career-high 44 assists as Capital claimed its third AA volleyball crown.
“I am so honored to get this award out of all the great players in Helena, but it’s not just me who should be recognized,” Hofer said. “I wouldn’t be where I am today without my great team. Without the passes I get or the hitters who put the ball away, I wouldn’t be able to get this award.
“I want to thank my parents for giving me the love and support throughout my life, and all of my coaches who have helped me over the years.”