“It starts with the perfect pass,” is a saying in volleyball.
CBA senior setter Doug Dzema often delivers such a ball to his Colts teammates, resulting in numerous kills.
“It feels great to see a kill after one of my sets,” he said. “My teammates always tell me, ‘Thank you. Great set.’ I love playing setter. I love being in the entire game and touching the ball on every play. I love having the team revolve around what I do. I love the responsibility.
“I love being the guy. I love being the go-to guy. I don’t mind the pressure at all.”
Dzema takes a simple approach to setting.
“I just try to cushion the ball and push it to where my teammates need to be,” he said. “They know all of the plays. They know the different speeds of the ball, the height of the set and where the set is going to be.”
Dzema said he enjoys delivering sets to senior right side Dan Andree and senior left side John Gatens.
“We played against each other in grammar school so we had a rivalry,” Dzema said. “We hated each other’s guts. Now that we play together, we have become real good friends.”
Dzema stopped short of saying who he prefers delivering the ball to.
“It depends on who is hot that day,” Dzema said. “We stay after practice each day and work on our sets. We run plays that catch teams off guard.”
Dzema played on the Colts’ freshman team. His older brother, Mike Dzema, played for CBA as a freshman, sophomore and junior.
“I always played with him in the yard,” Dzema said. “I also played soccer as a freshman. I liked volleyball a lot more so I stuck with it. I stayed with it as a lot more of my friends played volleyball. I was better at it. I have a lot more opportunities to go farther with volleyball.”
Dzema spent the offseason sharpening his skills with the Warren SixPak Volleyball Club, playing against tough competition from around the country.
“It helped me tremendously in terms of gaining experience,” he said. “I got touches on the ball against top level teams.”
“Once you play at that level, it sticks with you,” CBA coach Monica Slattery said. “He’s smarter now in terms of who he is going to set. There’s nothing random about what he does. There’s always a purpose.”
An aspiring doctor of physical therapy, Dzema mentors 12 CBA freshmen in the Guru Group (Give Us Religious Understanding). He teaches mentally and physically challenged persons in the Handicapped Scuba Association at the Centrastate Medical Center where he can also be found working with the Wounded Warriors Program.