LEWISTOWN - Mifflin County's not-so-secret weapon, Sarah Bonson, had an amazing senior night against Millersburg Wednesday, leading the Huskies with 20 service points - nine aces - in a 3-0 win over the Tri-Valley League foe in volleyball.
But it was sophomore Chloe Benner, possibly the smallest player on the court, who carried the Huskies through rough patches in the first and third sets with her strong serve, winning 11 service points, and proving to be the top ball handler of the night with a 2.67 pass rating (out of a possible three).
Despite being challenged in all but the middle game, the Huskies held on to finish the night unscathed, winning 25-22, 25-9 and 25-21.
Benner helped her team after it started the opening game down 2-0, drilling the ball for five straight Husky points and a lead that, while shaky at times, would hold up to the end. She forced the Indians to make bad plays at the net, and the Huskies quickly built a 13-7 lead.
That's when the problems started to occur. Mifflin County seemed unable to react to something unexpected, and it seemed that everyone wanted someone else to make the play.
"It was just unforced error after unforced error," Mifflin County coach Matt Kern said. "But when they play with intensity to control the ball, we've been getting better and better. That's always good to see."
IF YOU GO
* Mifflin County hosts Cumberland Valley Thursday
The Indians made it 16-15 before the Huskies went on another short run, then the visitors tied the set at 21. But they never got ahead, and Jenna Snyder knocked one down at the net to finish it off. She finished the night with 10 kills, one shy of Bonson's total, but the two were key to Mifflin County controlling the net when it mattered.
"I think most teams always have a section of each game that they just hemorrhage points. Tonight ours were obviously bigger than what we would like," Kern said. "Some of those longer rallies would have been finished way earlier if we just had somebody that was a monster at the net."
The second set was a huge jump for the home team. Despite giving up the first point, the Huskies ran to a 7-3 lead, again with key service from Benner, then just went on a rampage after Millersburg scored a pair - it was 20-5 before the Indians got another.
In the third, Millerburg stayed closer, never trailing by more than a point or two until Bonson went on a service streak and lifted her team to an 18-13 margin. Twice the Indians played catchup, but failed to succeed.
"They end up getting lulled to sleep with bigger runs of points," Kern said. "If they get caught off guard it doesn't end well for us, but I will say on nights where they're really into it, they don't get caught off guard very much."
The final was established without much sacrifice, something that is key to Kern's philosophy: "Once you get the lead, always build upon the lead. Never give it back, especially in the later half of the set. And they did a good job."
Another senior, Alyssa Stackpole, led the team in digs with nine.
The Huskies improve to 5-11 overall, 4-1 in their secondary league. Tonight it's back to the Mid-Penn Conference when Cumberland Valley comes to town.