Northern Star: Alaina Bennett
For this week's Northern Star, we talk with the heart and soul of the Carlton volleyball team.
CARLTON, Minn. – When Alaina Bennett first joined the Carlton volleyball team, she was one of three eighth graders to play on the varsity squad.
“It was just crazy when you step on the court and you’re with seniors and juniors and you’re a little eighth grader. You listen to what everybody’s saying because you just want to make sure that’s the best that you have, so you want to be like them and i always wanted to be like them,” Bennett said.
In her first year, the Bulldogs were coming off of back-to-back state tournament appearances. Since then, Bennett has grown as a leader, serving as a captain since her sophomore season and brought the Bulldogs back to state last year.
“When you’re little, you don’t have confidence when you’re around big kids that have been playing for four years and I’ve definitely gotten better at jumping into the leadership act,” said Bennett.
And you’ll always be able to hear Bennett on the court as she’s become the most vocal person on the team.
“She comes up with these funny things all the time and works hard. She encourages the other kids all the time. She’s a very good leader on the court and helps everybody out and tries to keep everybody up and focused on the game,” head coach Barb Soukkala said.
“I play better when I’m talking. I’m one of those people that if I’m not talking, I’m not moving and when I’m talking, everybody’s listening and everybody’s moving together. I’ve always been the loud, take control kind of person. It makes myself better, too. They listen to me and i do think i have a good perspective of the game so I think most of the time i’m saying the right thing,” said Bennett.
Now with a taste of the state tournament, Bennett is hoping to lead her team back to end her volleyball career.
“The last four or five years of your life, when you show up to practice, it all is for something. It’s not just another day in the gym. If my name was on that plaque, it would just be the perfect period to this huge story that we have – more like an exclamation point. There’s no other way that anyone could ever dream of ending a career in a sport that you’ll probably never play again,” Bennett said.