Braves look to be competitive on the court

Logan Redetzke will count on four returning starters to lead the way after taking over as the head coach of the Menahga volleyball team.

Senior Elly Hillukka will be one of the leaders for the Menahga volleyball team this season. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

Logan Redetzke has several key spots to fill as the new head coach of the Menahga volleyball team.

Six seniors led the Braves to a 1-6 record in Park Region Conference play and an 8-15 overall campaign last season. That group featured Tara Hendrickson, Annie Lake, Rena Pinoniemi and Jessica Pietila. Pinoniemi earned all-conference honors while Hendrickson and Lake were all-conference honorable mention players.

Pinoniemi compiled 212 digs, 101 kills, 17 ace serves and 10 blocks as a middle hitter in 18 matches that were best of 5 sets. Hendrickson played in 17 of those matches, tallying 129 kills, 55 digs, 22 blocks and 12 ace serves as a middle hitter. Lake was the starting setter and had 460 set assists, 122 digs, 24 ace serves, 17 kills and 12 blocks in 18 matches. Pietila played in 14 matches as a right-side hitter and had 121 digs, 48 kills and seven ace serves.

Redetzke takes over as head coach after serving as Menahga’s junior varsity coach the last two seasons. The new head coach will be relying on four returning starters to lead the way this fall.

Returning to the starting lineup are Elly Hillukka (outside hitter), Maryn Pinoniemi (outside hitter/libero), Lela Peterson (outside hitter/libero) and Janie Tormanen (middle hitter). Also back with varsity experience are Julia Besonen (defensive specialist/right-side hitter), Allie Pfeifer (right-side hitter) and Amanda Lake (setter). Being counted on to provide depth will be Michaela Skoog, Crystal Haataja, Meagan Holtz and Erica Tormanen.


Hillukka had 114 kills and 52 digs while leading the team with 26 ace serves (by putting 187 of 214 serves in play) in 18 matches. Tormanen led the Braves with 51 blocks while tallying 128 kills and 47 digs and putting 57 of 69 serves in play in 18 matches. Maryn Pinoniemi played in 18 matches and went 130 for 137 in serves with six aces while adding 10 kills and leading Menahga with 249 digs. Peterson also played in 18 matches, compiling 89 digs. Pfeifer contributed 54 digs, 32 set assists and seven ace serves in 14 matches. Besonen played in nine matches last season.

Menahga ended last season by receiving the No. 7 seed in the North for the Section 6A tournament and followed a win over No. 10 Pelican Rapids with a loss to No. 2 Park Christian.

The new head coach is optimistic her team will be competitive this season.

“My hope for the season is that we work on our consistency in passing and all basic skills and confidence as we learn new skills we have never done before. I think our passing will be the key to our success, if you don't have the passes it is hard to have anything else. They have the heart and the hustle, we just need the passing,” said Redetzke, who will be assisted by Stacey Jensen, Nicole Fedie, and Leah Pietila. “I want to build a program of confident girls on and off the court. I also want to put us on the map as a competitor. I want other teams to really have to practice and break us down before they play us. I am honestly just excited to see what we can do in such a weird season and just have a blast.”

Oct. 8 - vs. Wadena-Deer Creek, 7:30 p.m Oct. 12 - vs. Henning, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 13 - vs. Bertha-Hewitt, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 20 - at New York Mills, 7:30 p.m Oct. 22 - vs. Verndale, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 - at Sebeka, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 29 - at Pillager, 7:30 p.m.
Nov. 2 - at Wadena-Deer Creek, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 - at Henning, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 10 - at Bertha-Hewitt, 7:30 p.m. No. 12 - vs. New York Mills, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 - at Verndale, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19 - vs. Sebeka, 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24 - vs. Pillager, 7:30 p.m.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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