Eagles avenge playoff loss with win over Hawley

By John George The Lady Eagles went into Tuesday's match with section rival Hawley expecting a dog-fight. Why wouldn't they? Hawley had knocked NY?Mills out of last year's playoffs with a 3-2 in the 6A North Sub-Section quarterfinals.

By John George

The Lady Eagles went into Tuesday's match with section rival Hawley expecting a dog-fight. Why wouldn't they? Hawley had knocked NY?Mills out of last year's playoffs with a 3-2 in the 6A North Sub-Section quarterfinals.

Mills was in for a pleasant surprise Tuesday as they cruised to an easy, 3-0 win over the Nuggets at the Sports Center.

With the game starting late because of the primaries, Mills made up for the time by getting off to a fast start in game one, and going on to a quick 25-12 win. Hawley made 10 unforced errors, a sign of things to come. The Nuggets finished the match with 24 unforced errors.


Hawley took a brief 2-1 lead in game two before Betsy Helmeke came to the service line. Helmeke had three aces as she led the Eagles to a 9-2 lead. The Nuggets fought off four game points, thanks to three straight aces, before falling in game two, 25-13.

RaeAnna Salo started game three with a pair of aces, getting Mills off to a 3-0 start. Hawley would fight back, and led 6-5 before the Eagles made their run.

Lauren Johnson had three-straight aces to get NYM?out to a 10-7 lead. Lauren Rud followed with a four-point scoring run, with one ace, to open the lead to 14-8. Hawley (1-2) struggled down the stretch, committing a number of errors as Mills closed the match with another 25-13 win.

Eagles head coach Amy Koskela was happy with how strong the team came out. She added they were expecting a battle and really got up for it.

"You don't get wins this easy often," she said.

Saturday Tournament

The Eagles hosted their annual tournament Saturday at the Sports Center and High School gym. NY?Mills finished with a 2-2-1 record, good for fourth place.

Upsala had the tournament's best record, going 5-0 for first place. Verndale finished second. Menahga, despite not winning a game (no wins, one loss, three ties), edged Mills for third place based on a point system used in the tournament, 49-44.


The Eagles beat Lake Park-Audubon and Swanville, earned a tie with Menahga. Both of their losses, to Upsala and Verndale, were close. Upsala needed extra points in game one to win, 27-25, before cruising in game two. Verndale won both games against the Eagles by a total of five points.

Mills played the entire tournament without Rutten, and half the tournament without another key player, Nicole Nebosis, due to family weddings on Saturday, according to Koskela.

Close loss at B-H

The Lady Eagles got off to a good start at Bertha-Hewitt last Thursday, but the No. 14 team in the state was able to hold on at home, beating New York Mills, 3-1.

Mills started the night with a win in game one, 25-23. Game two was also close, but B-H came out on top, 25-22. The Bears took a 2-1 lead with a 25-15 win in game three, then closed out the match, winning game four, 25-19.

"The girls came out and played hard the first game but kind of fizzled by game three," Eagle head coach Amy Koskela said. "We made an attempt to get to game five, but Bertha had some smart serving and hitting to shut us down in game four."

Mills had a good night up front, recording 26 kills. Hannah Rutten led the way with 10 kills and eight blocks. Betsy Helmeke and Lauren Johnson added five kills each.

"Overall it was the best performance we've had against Bertha during conference matches," Koskela added.


This week

The Lady Eagles will remain at home tonight (Sept. 11) as they host Verndale at 7:30 p.m.

Mills won two of three matches against the Pirates (5-4-1) last year.

The Eagles will travel to Battle Lake on Sept. 15. The Battlers (1-7) won last year's meeting, 3-0, at the NY?Mills Sports Center.

Thursday, September 4

Bertha-Hewitt 3, New York Mills 1

(23-25, 25-22, 25-15, 25-19)

Eagles--(Kills-Aces-Blocks)--Morgan Kahilainen (0-1-0), Kimberlee Erickson (2-0-0), Bobbi Smith (4-0-1), Hannah Rutten (10-0-8), RaeAnna Salo (0-1-0), Betsy Helmeke (5-2-0), Lauren Johnson (5-2-2).


Saturday, September 6

New York Mills Tournament

1. Upsala (5-0), 2. Verndale (3-1-1), 3. Menahga (0-1-3), 4. New York Mills (2-2-1), 5. Lake Park-Audubon (1-3-1), 6. Swanville (0-5).

NY?Mills 2, Lake Park-Audubon 0

(25-22, 25-12)

Upsala 2, New York Mills 0

(27-25, 25-11)

Verndale 2, New York Mills 0


(25-22, 25-23)

New York Mills 1, Menahga 1

(18-25. 26-24)

New York Mills 2, Swanville 0

(25-16, 25-11)

Tuesday, September 9

New York Mills 3, Hawley 0

(25-12, 25-13, 25-13)


Eagles--(Kills-Aces-Blocks)--Kahilainen (0-0-1), Erickson (1-0-0), Bernu (1-0-0), Smith (2-0-0), Rutten (8-0-2), Rud (0-2-0), Salo (0-5-1), Helmeke (0-3-0), Jackson (8-6-1)

Assists--Kahilainen 10, Rud 3, Rutten 1.

Park Region Conf. All

Bertha-Hewitt 1-0 6-2

Menahga 1-0 3-3-1

Henning 1-0 3-5

Sebeka 0-0 6-2

New York Mills 0-1 5-3-1

Verndale 0-1 5-4

Pillager 0-1 2-3

What To Read Next
Get Local