By: Kalia Inman
Our very own Bulldogs playoffs season has now come to an end, after falling to the Harrisburg
Area Community College Hawks in a 3-2 semi-final game. The five sets played were extremely
competitive and had tight scores: 26-24, 20-25, 25-22, 20-25, 9-15. Freshman outside hitter
Gyanna Hernandez led the game with a total of 16 kills, 5 service aces, and 12 points. Captain
and outsider hitter, Gianna Scillia added to the team’s final scores with 14 kills and 3 service
aces. In terms of offense, sophomore libero Yumi Higughi, controlled the back row with 22 digs
and added 5 points through service aces. Freshman setter Brandi Shortway, contributed 3 kills
and registered 30 assists.
Before the Bergen Bulldogs headed to their semifinals, against Harrisburg Area Community
College, we were able to talk to them about the playoffs and reflect on the season.
What is your name, number, and position?
Gianna Scillia: My name is Gianna. I’m an outside hitter and I’m number 3.
Yumi Higughi: My name is Yumi Higughi. I play as libero for Bergen Community College
and my number is 5.
Melody Peralta: My name is Melody Peralta. I play middle block and my number is
Brandi Shortway: I’m Brandi Shortway. I play as setter and my number is 8.
Gyanna Hernandez: My name is Gyanna Hernandez. I play outside and I’m number 1.
Are you a freshman or sophomore?
Higughi: I’m a sophomore at Bergen Community College but it’s my first time playing for their
Peralta: I’m a sophomore.
Hernandez: I’m a freshman.
How does collegiate volleyball compare to high school?
Scillia: It’s still that level of competitiveness and you still have your rivals. So, you still have to
play up and it’s fun. But it’s still a whole other level.
Higughi: I’d say that a big difference would be playing more than three sets. There are five sets
in college volleyball so there’s definitely a lot more endurance and perseverance. And still trying
to keep up with that fighting spirit.
Peralta: It takes more time out of my day than high school did. In high school, right after
classes, I would have practice or a game. Here, I don’t have class every day. So, it’s just more of a commitment.
Shortway: It’s different but it’s also more fun and definitely more competitive.
Hernandez: I feel like high school was little taken more seriously. There’s more of a fun
family bond in college. It’s more about the bond on the court, rather than winning all the time.
Have any of you guys ever played in a championship game?
Scillia: We played [Lyndhurst] like my junior and senior year when I was on varsity. We made
it to the States twice. We made the final round and then we made the semifinals.
Higughi: In my freshman year of high school, for Leonia, we did get into the championships
against Bogota. I personally didn’t play. I was a freshman, but I was on varsity. So, I got to
experience the energy that they had, the pressure, and the intensity. So, it was really cool I’d say.
Peralta: For my basketball team in high school, I played for a championship against Saddle
Brook. It was best out of two and we tied, so we both kind of shared the banner.
Shortway: This is my first level [championship level].
What’s the first thing you do when you come home from a volleyball game?
Scillia: I lay on the floor, or some ice.
Higughi: Probably, eat dinner or something.
Peralta: Sometimes I do have to take care of my little sister, she’s five. Or, I just do
homework and catch up on my work.
Shortway: I usually like to sit down. I’m always tired after the games. It’s a lot but it’s fine. I
always think about the games afterwards.
Hernandez: I talk to either my boyfriend or my parents about how the game went. Or
sometimes I just rewatch the game to see where I went wrong so I can work on that for the next
What hobbies do you have outside of volleyball?
Scillia: I read a lot and I do strength training.
Higughi: I like to dance, spend quality time with my friends and family, and eat good food.
Peralta: I like to go to the gym a lot. Other than that, I watch baseball a lot or any other
Shortway: Not really. I mean I play softball too but that’s it.
Hernandez: Honestly, no. Volleyball is my hobby.
For sophomores, how does it feel with this being your last year playing for Bergen?
(Especially since you guys made it to playoffs)
Scillia: It’s definitely a lot different from last year because we missed it by a couple games. And
it’s sad because I’ve learned to love this team and the coaches but it’s bittersweet.
Higughi: I didn’t expect for us to get into the playoffs but when we found out that we made it, it
was really surprising and super exciting. I feel like as a team we grew so much. We’ve come
such a long way and I’m so proud of the team and how far we came.
Peralta: Last year, we were really close; it was like only one game we had to win. So, it’s a
good feeling to actually make it this year. I think we haven’t made it in like ten years, so I’m proud of our team.
Any closing remarks on the season?
Scillia: I’m happy we went five sets with a rival team that usually beats us in three. And I’m just
happy we made it this year. I’m proud of everybody.
Higughi: Thank you to the coaches and thank you for the team. I feel like it was really a cool
experience and very unique as well.
Peralta: We all worked really hard to be 15-5 and make it to playoffs. I believe we’re able to
win [against Harrisburg] and actually win the region. I’m proud of our team.
Shortway: No, I think it was just a great season overall. So, I think it was good.
Hernandez: I feel like it was good coming in when I did because they were going
through something, like a losing streak and everything. And I feel like after I came in and
I started practicing with them, I felt like they accepted me. So, it was good that I got
accepted by everybody. And I’m 100% playing next season.