Menahga’s Rena Pinoniemi, Annie Lake and Tara Hendrickson capped off their senior seasons by earning Park Region Conference honors.

Pinoniemi received all-conference honors while Lake and Hendrickson were all-conference honorable mention players as the Braves went 1-6 in Park Region Conference matches and 8-15 overall.

The Braves opened the season with 3-1 losses to Nevis (25-22, 19-25, 25-16, 25-16) and Browerville/Eagle Valley (25-13, 25-22, 14-25, 25-21) before sweeping Lake Park-Audubon (25-14, 25-11, 25-16). Wadena-Deer Creek swept the Braves (25-18, 25-18, 25-17) in the conference opener before Menahga swept Laporte (25-13, 25-21, 25-12) and lost to Henning 3-0 (25-22, 25-12, 25-19) in another conference match.

A 3-1 win over Pelican Rapids (22-25, 25-23, 25-19, 25-22) was followed with a 3-1 conference loss to Bertha-Hewitt (18-25, 25-17, 25-23, 25-17). Menahga then went 2-3 in five matches at the Parkers Prairie tournament, losing to Clinton-Graceville-Beardsley (25-23, 25-18), defeating Parkers Prairie (25-19, 25-17) and Northern Freeze (25-18, 25-22), falling to Park Christian (21-25, 25-12, 15-8) and dropping another match to C-G-B (25-18,2 5-16).

After dropping another conference match to New York Mills (25-20, 25-17, 25-15) and losing to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley (23-25, 25-10, 25-19, 25-14), the Braves defeated Frazee 3-2 (25-18, 25-15, 16-25, 23-25, 15-10).

Four straight losses followed as Menahga was swept by Vernale (25-22, 25-22, 29-27) in a conference match and Park Rapids (25-13, 25-21, 25-9), lost to Sebeka in a marathon conference match (19-25, 25-11, 20-25, 25-14, 15-6) and dropped a decision to Staples-Motley (25-11, 25-22, 12-25, 25-21).

Menahga ended the regular season with a sweep over Pillager (26-24, 25-20, 25-19) in the conference finale. W-DC went 7-0 to claim the conference title while Henning (6-1), New York Mills (5-2), Sebeka (3-4), Bertha-Hewitt (2-5), Pillager (2-5), Verndale (2-5) and Menahga (1-6) followed.

Going 7-14 during the regular season gave the Braves the No. 7 seed in the North for the Section 6A tournament. The Braves eliminated No. 10 Pelican Rapids (25-23, 18-25, 25-17, 25-13) before being eliminated by No. 2 Park Christian (25-22, 25-18, 25-17). Henning (the No. 1 seed in the South) defeated Wadena-Deer Creek (the No. 1 seed in the North) in the section title match.

Also playing key roles for the Braves this season were senior Jessica Pietila; junior Elly Hillukka; and sophomores Allie Pfeifer, Lela Peterson, Maryn Pinoniemi and Janie Tormanen. All of those players played in at least 14 of the 18 matches that were best 3-out-of-5 sets.

Hendrickson led Menahga with 129 kills and was second with 22 blocks while chipping in 55 digs and 12 ace serves in 17 matches as a middle hitter.

Lake was the starting setter in all 18 matches and led the team with 460 set assists and second with 24 ace serves while contributing 122 digs, 12 blocks and 17 kills.

Rena Pinoniemi played in all 18 matches as a middle hitter, finishing second with 212 digs while posting 101 kills, 17 ace serves and 10 blocks.

Hillukka led the Braves with 26 ace serves and had 114 kills and 52 digs in 18 matches as an outside hitter.

Tormanen was Menahga’s leader with 51 blocks while tallying 128 kills and 47 digs in 18 matches as an outside hitter.

Pietila had 121 digs, 48 kills and seven ace serves in 14 matches as a right-side hitter.

Maryn Pinoniemi was the libero and led the team with 249 digs while adding 10 kills and six ace serves in 18 matches.

Peterson played in 18 matches as a defensive specialist, compiling 89 digs.

Pfeifer was also a defensive specialist who had 54 digs, 32 set assists and seven ace serves in 14 matches.

Senior defensive specialist Erica Kicker (two matches), senior middle hitter Samantha Pfeifer (three matches) and sophomore right-side hitter Julia Besonen (nine matches) also saw varsity action this season.

MENAHGA STATISTICS
(Excluding Parkers Prairie tournament matches)
SERVING: Lake 245 of 258 (24 aces), R. Pinoniemi 232 of 236 (17 aces), Hillukka 187 for 214 (26 aces), Hendrickson 167 for 180 (12 aces), Pietila 143 for 154 (7 aces), M. Pinoniemi 130 for 137 (6 aces), Tormanen 57 for 69 (2 aces), A. Pfeifer 43 for 45 (7 aces), Besonen 15 for 19, Peterson 9 for 10 (1 ace), Kicker 5 for 6 (1 ace), S. Pfeifer 1 for 3.
ATTACKS: Hillukka 428 (114 kills), Hendrickson 403 (129 kills), Tormanen 394 (128 kills), R. Pinoniemi 393 (101 kills), Pietila 263 (48 kills), Lake 108 (17 kills), M. Pinoniemi 74 (10 kills), Besonen 43 (8 kills), Peterson 32 (2 kills), A. Pfeifer 26 (4 kills), S. Pfeifer 7 (2 kills), Kicker 6.
SET ASSISTS: Lake 460, A. Pfeifer 32, Pietila 18, R. Pinoniemi 9, Tormanen 7, M. Pinoniemi 6, Hendrickson 6, Besonen 5, Hillukka 4, Peterson 4, S. Pfeifer 1.
DIGS: M. Pinoniemi 249, R. Pinoniemi 212, Lake 122, Pietila 121, Peterson 89, Hendrickson 55, A. Pfeifer 54, Hillukka 52, Tormanen 47, Besonen 22.
BLOCKS (solo-assists): Tormanen 27-24, Hendrickson 7-15, Lake 1-11, R. Pinoniemi 1-9, Hillukka 2-7, Pietila 1-5, Besonen 0-5, Pfeifer 0-2.