Hibbing Daily Tribune
HIBBING — For the past two years, between December and June, Bella Scaia has done a lot of traveling.
The Hibbing High School sophomore tried out for the Minnesota North volleyball team in Duluth, and this past year, she made the 15-1 National team that traveled the tri-state area, taking part in numerous tournaments from January to June.
Scaia said the team went to Wisconsin twice, Iowa and mostly tournaments in the Twin Cities. In June, the team competed in the National championships, a four-day affair in Orlando, Fla., placing 21st out of 200 teams.
The team placed second at the Minnesota North Freeze event; first at the North Snownami Tournament; sixth at the AAU Super Regional; 21st at the Big City Luau; 11th at the North Star President’s Day Challenge; 27th at the Mizuno Showcase; third at the Rochester World Cup; and 13th at the Mizuno Midwest JVA Challenge.
As the Hibbing High School volleyball begins the 2019 season, Scaia will take the knowledge she learned from the 15-1 team and put it to good use for the Bluejackets.
The Hibbing libero was impressive enough to make the 10-person team.
How did she stay in volleyball shape?
“I tried to prepare at home,” Scaia said. “I was doing the little things like passing to myself and setting to myself, trying to prepare for it. The tryouts weren’t bad, but it was a rough process this year.
“There were a lot of cuts made. A lot of the girls went back-and-forth. Otherwise, it was good.”
Scaia left the tryout not knowing her fate, but she finally received an email informing her that she had made the team.
She got that notification a few weeks after the tryouts.
“That was a big accomplishment,” Scaia said. “There were a lot more girls in my position, trying to get on that team. I had to work harder than I did the year before.”
According to Scaia, the team practiced two to three times per week in Duluth.
“I was carpooling with girls from Virginia and Ely,” Scaia said. “I was pretty much gone every weekend in the winter and spring. It was fun. I made some good memories out of it.”
The team, according to Scaia, did well during the season.
“We had our ups-and-downs, but overall, we improved from the beginning to the end,” Scaia said. “We usually won more than we lost. We did especially well at Nationals. To get 21st out of 200 teams is a good accomplishment.”
The skill level, Scaia noted, was exceptional.
“The pace was a lot quicker than in high school,” Scaia said. “Even though I was going against girls older than me, that made me a better passer and defender.”
At Nationals, Scaia said the atmosphere was better than it was the year before.
“The competition was better, and we did better, so it was more fun for us and my parents to watch,” Scaia said. “We were actually winning. We were together and not separate.”
All of that aside, Scaia learned one important element of the game.
“It’s made me a lot better, but it’s also made me a better teammate, too,” Scaia said. “That’s one of the most important things — being a good teammate.”
Joining Scaia on the team were Bailee Hess of Hermantown; Destiny Hering, Savanna Hering and Makayla McMeekin of Superior; Gabriella Jauhola of Proctor; Lindsey Baribeau of Mesabi East; Morgan Burnett of North Woods; Phylisha Preston of South Ridge; and Keira Kolasinski of Duluth East.