Having only four players compete in all 25 matches prevented the Menahga volleyball team from putting a cohesive group on the floor.

Despite battling injuries all season, the Braves still managed to produce an 11-14 overall record in Lindsey White's debut as head coach.

"My first year went really well," said White, who was the Braves' assistant coach last season. "We had a young team and dealt with some injuries throughout the year, but the team responded well with the different things I threw at them. I learned a lot throughout the season and had a lot of fun in this new role."

The Braves opened the season with a 2-5 record. Menahga opened with a 3-0 loss to Nevis (25-15, 25-20, 25-19), a 3-0 win over Lake Park-Audubon (25-14, 25-16, 25-21) and a 3-0 loss to Henning (25-20, 25-16, 25-15) in the Park Region Conference opener.

Menahga then went 1-3 at the Pequot Lakes tournament with a 2-0 loss to Pine River-Backus (25-20, 25-12), a 2-1 win over Spectrum (26-28, 25-16, 15-12), and 2-0 losses to Pequot Lakes (25-12, 25-14) and Aitkin (25-16, 25-21).

A pair of 3-2 marathon wins over Laporte (25-15, 21-25, 21-25, 25-15, 15-6) and Bertha-Hewitt (25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-8 in a conference match) were followed with a 3-0 loss to Pelican Rapids (25-14, 25-16, 25-20) and a 3-2 victory over Browerville (17-25, 18-25, 25-13, 25-17, 15-7).

At the Parkers Prairie tournament, the Braves went 1-3 with a 2-1 loss to Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (25-9, 22-25, 15-13), a 2-0 win over Park Christian (25-23, 26-24), a 2-0 loss to Maranatha Christian Academy (25-21, 25-15) and a 2-1 loss to Northern Freeze (26-24, 12-25, 15-7).

After back-to-back conference losses to New York Mills (25-17, 25-20, 25-23) and Verndale (25-22, 21-25, 25-14, 25-21), the Braves defeated Frazee 3-0 (25-22, 25-22, 25-18) and Sebeka 3-1 (25-19, 17-25, 25-21, 25-23 in a conference match).

Menahga closed out the regular season with a 3-2 loss to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (16-25, 15-25, 25-17, 25-22, 15-11), a 3-2 conference win over Pillager (25-12, 16-25, 24-26, 25-20, 15-6), a 3-1 victory over Staples-Motley (29-31, 25-17, 25-17, 25-16) and a 3-0 conference loss to Wadena-Deer Creek (25-15, 25-22, 25-16).

For the Section 6A tournament, the Braves received the No. 6 seed in the North and opened with a 3-0 win (25-15, 25-19, 25-14) over No. 11 Rothsay before being eliminated by No. 3 Wadena-Deer Creek (25-20, 25-11, 25-10).

New York Mills won the conference title with a 7-0 record while Henning, Verndale and W-DC tied for second place at 5-2. Menahga finished at 3-4 while Bertha-Hewitt (2-5), Sebeka (1-6) and Pillager (0-7) followed. New York Mills defeated C-G-B in the section championship match.

Leading the Braves this season were seniors Madi Marjamaa, Olivia Yliniemi, Cierra Ahlf and Jamie Erno; juniors Rena Pinoniemi, Tara Hendrickson and Jessica Pietila; sophomores Elly Hillukka and Martha Peterson; and freshmen Mary Pinoniemi, Janie Tormanen and Lela Peterson.

Marjamaa earned all-conference honors after leading the Braves with 506 set assists and 48 ace serves while adding 89 kills, 13 blocks and 203 digs in 25 matches as the starting setter.

Yliniemi received all-conference honorable mention honors after tallying 91 kills, 71 digs, 17 blocks and 10 ace serves in 19 matches as an outside hitter.

Rena Pinoniemi also received all-conference honorable mention honors after posting 239 digs, 23 ace serves and 21 kills in 20 matches as a right-side hitter.

Ahlf was among the Braves' leaders in several categories, finishing the season with a team-leading 241 digs while contributing 133 kills, 27 ace serves and 25 set assists in 25 starts as an outside hitter.

Hendrickson also started all 25 matches as a middle hitter, leading the team with 164 kills and 55 blocks while serving 20 aces and tallying 50 digs.

Pietila also played in all 25 matches as a right-side hitter, compiling 182 digs, 34 kills, 29 ace serves, 28 set assists and 12 blocks.

Hillukka saw action in 21 matches, posting 77 kills, 53 digs and 13 ace serves as an outside hitter.

Erno capped off her senior season with 29 digs and 12 kills in 17 matches as a right-side hitter.

Tormanen had 56 kills, 41 digs and 10 ace serves in nine matches as a middle hitter, Maryn Pinoniemi had 130 digs in 16 matches as a libero, Martha Peterson served seven aces and had 37 digs in 10 matches as an outside hitter, and Lela Peterson had 74 digs in 16 matches as a defensive specialist.

For the season, the Braves had 680 kills with 494 hitting errors, served 194 aces and had 1,351 digs.

"The team definitely lived up to my expectations," said White. "I do wonder how some of the outcomes could have been different if everyone was healthy all season long. But the team battled hard with each team we faced and each role I threw at them."

Even though the Braves will graduate four key players, White is looking for her team to put another competitive unit on the floor next season.

"We will graduate some great seniors this year that were great role models and brought us many years of great leadership, consistency and commitment to the program. Each one of these seniors had a different role and they each brought so much to their position that they played. We definitely have some big shoes to fill next year," said White. "For the rest of my team next season, I expect to pick up where we left off. Many of my younger girls were thrown into different positions this year to fill spots due to injuries. So next year I really hope to get them into a more permanent position so they can really focus on improving their skills for each position they play. We are young and I was so impressed with how we played this year considering the many changes I made throughout the season. I am really excited to have a few years with these girls to see them improve and grow as a team."

MENAHGA STATISTICS

Serves: M. Pinoniemi 5 for 6 (1 ace), Tormanen 92 for 96 (10 aces), R. Pinoniemi 147 for 161 (23 aces), Pietila 206 for 232 (29 aces), Yliniemi 96 for 103 (10 aces), Ahlf 259 for 275 (27 aces), Hillukka 103 for 129 (13 aces), M. Peterson 23 for 27 (7 aces), Hendrickson 229 for 245 (20 aces), Erno 44 for 50 (6 aces), Marjamaa 333 for 371 (48 aces).

Attacks: M. Pinoniemi 11 (1 kill), Tormanen 164 (56 kills), L. Peterson 12 (2 kills), R. Pinoniemi 105 (21 kills), Pietila 183 (34 kills), Yliniemi 301 (91 kills), Ahlf 622 (133 kills), Hillukka 306 (77 kills), M. Peterson 9, Hendrickson 493 (164 kills), Erno 79 (12 kills), Marjamaa 402 (89 kills).

Sets: M. Pinoniemi 40 (11 assists), Tormanen 18 (7 assists), L. Peterson 32 (4 assists), R. Pinoniemi 123 (16 assists), Pietila 130 (28 assists), Yliniemi 51 (11 assists), Ahlf 95 (25 assists), Hillukka 23 (4 assists), M. Peterson 11 (2 assists), Hendrickson 66 (6 assists), Erno 92 (20 assists), Marjamaa 1,887 (506 assists).

Blocks (solo-assists): Tormanen 3-7, R. Pinoniemi 0-1, Pietila 0-12, Yliniemi 5-12, Ahlf 2-3, Hendrickson 31-24, Erno 0-5, Marjamaa 1-12.

Digs: M. Pinoniemi 130, Tormanen 41, L. Peterson 74, R. Pinoniemi 239, Pietila 182, Yliniemi 71, Ahlf 241, Pfeifer 1, Hillukka 53, M. Peterson 37, Hendrickson 50, Erno 29, Marjamaa 203.

Serve receive: M. Pinoniemi 174 for 199, Tormanen 1 for 1, L. Peterson 83 for 102, R. Pinoniemi 339 for 355, Pietila 243 for 269, Yliniemi 27 for 32, Ahlf 333 for 364, Pfeifer 2 for 2, Hillukka 34 for 44, M. Peterson 58 for 66, Hendrickson 12 for 12, Erno 65 for 88, Marjamaa 7 for 7.