After dropping the first two sets and facing a 24-17 deficit in Set 4, the Menahga volleyball team rallied for a 3-2 Park Region Conference win over Bertha-Hewitt at Menahga on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

The Braves used a 9-0 run to close out Set 4 to spark the come-from-behind 23-25, 21-25, 25-20, 26-24, 15-11 victory.

Bertha-Hewitt used a 7-0 run to take the lead for good in Set 1. A kill by Allie Pfeifer and a tip by Amanda Lake helped Menahga take an early 5-4 lead before the Bears responded to claim an 11-5 edge. A kill by Lela Peterson, an ace serve by Elly Hillukka and a tip by Lake ended that run as the Braves cut the gap to 12-8. A kill by Peterson kept Menahga within 17-13 before the Bears claimed a 22-15 advantage. Two kills by Julia Besonen, a kill by Hillukka and an ace serve by Maryn Pinoniemi made it 24-23 before B-H closed out the set.

After trailing 4-0 and 9-3 in Set 2, the Braves rallied as Hillukka served an ace during a 6-0 run. Lake had two winning tips during that stretch that gave Menahga a 10-9 lead. A kill by Peterson, two tips by Lake and an ace serve by Pinoniemi kept the set tied at 16-16. Hillukka served an ace as the Braves trailed 20-19, but B-H went on a 5-2 run to close out that set.

Three kills and an ace serve by Hillukka, a block by Michaela Skoog and an ace serve by Pinoniemi gave Menahga a 15-14 edge in Set 3. The Bears took an 18-15 lead before Besonen served an ace during a 6-0 service run that helped Menahga close out Set 3. Hillukka had a block during that run.

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Two kills by Skoog and ace serves by Lake and Peterson kept Menahga within 16-13 in Set 4. Pinoniemi, Hillukka, Besonen and Peterson also had kills in the early going. B-H responded with an 8-4 run for a 24-17 advantage before the Braves rallied as Peterson served eight straight points. Pinoniemi had a pair of kills during that run to force a deciding set.

Lake served the Braves to a 5-0 lead in Set 5, but B-H countered with a 5-0 run to tie the set. Pinoniemi’s kill and ace serve tied the set at 9-9 before the Braves prevailed behind two kills by Skoog and kills by Pinoniemi and Peterson.

Peterson (7), Lake (6), Hillukka (6) and Pinoniemi (5) combined for 24 of the Braves’ 34 kills while Pinoniemi and Hillukka served five aces each. Lake tallied 26 set assists. Defensively, Pfeifer (26), Besonen (20), Lake (18), Pinoniemi (17) and Peterson (11) had double digits in digs while Hillukka had two blocks.

The Braves, who had their season opener against Wadena-Deer Creek postponed on Oct. 8, made their home debut with a 25-14, 25-9, 25-10 conference loss to Henning on Monday (Oct. 12). Besonen and Pinoniemi had two kills apiece while Pfeifer (11), Pinoniemi (8), Besonen (7) and Lake (7) combined for 33 digs in that match.

Menahga stats vs. B-H
Serving: Pfeifer 10 for 11, Peterson 14 for 18 (1 ace), Pinoniemi 18 for 21 (5 aces), Lake 19 for 21 (1 ace), Butler 0 for 1, Besonen 13 for 16 (1 ace), Hillukka 18 for 22 (5 aces).
Attacks: Pinoniemi 34 (5 kills), Peterson 29 (7 kills), Hillukka 28 (6 kills), Skoog 23 (4 kills), Lake 20 (6 kills), Besonen 16 (4 kills), Pfeifer 5 (2 kills).
Sets: Lake 120 (26 assists), Pinoniemi 11 (3 assists), Besonen 10 (4 assists), Pfeifer 5 (1 assist), Peterson 5, Hillukka 3.
Digs: Pfeifer 26, Besonen 20, Lake 18, Pinoniemi 17, Peterson 11, Hillukka 1.
Blocks: Hillukka 2, Skoog 1.
Serve receive: Pinoniemi 30 for 32, Pfeifer 21 for 27, Besonen 14 for 16, Peterson 4 for 6, Lake 3 for 3, Hillukka 2 for 2.