BY KYLEIGH SPRIGLE
Beach volleyball requires vast amounts of speed, athleticism, skill, strength and endurance. Between the elements of the sun beating down on your back, constant fatigue and the hot sand that blisters your feet, beach volleyball is a sport that will test a person’s ability to stay strong and persevere.
“I started to play volleyball when I was 10 [years old]. I started on the beach and have continued to do so,” Dylan Zacca said. “My dad was my first coach and really helped me develop the basics and understanding of the game.”
Zacca has continuously played different types of volleyball, but mostly beach volleyball with the U17 USA Beach National Team. However, he has also played indoor volleyball for the Cooper City Cowboys.
“Playing for my school’s indoor volleyball team was definitely a change of scenery,” Zacca said. “Transitioning [from] playing with one teammate on the beach to playing with five teammates on a hard court inside took some adjusting.”
But the difficult transition between the two different types of volleyball did not stop Zacca. He continued to work hard, improving his skills. Through all of his hard work, Zacca found his love for volleyball deepen after playing for the Cooper City Cowboys, especially after he was named most valuable player both freshman and sophomore year.
“Transitioning [from] playing with one teammate on the beach to playing with five teammates on a hard court inside took some adjusting.”
“I’m super excited for the next volleyball season with the Cowboys,” Zacca said. “We will take home districts for the first time in years.”
Zacca is confident in his own ability along with his teammates. Playing both types has allowed him to grow as a player. Yet his experience with indoor volleyball is unparalleled to his gift for beach volleyball.
“I’ll do about one or two beach tournaments at most during the summer season,” Zacca said. “I play volleyball three times a week and I’ll work out for volleyball four to five times a week.”
Zacca is committed to the sport, constantly playing and developing his skills. The determination he exhibits every day helps him become a better player.
“There is an off-season … sort of. Between working out for the sport and playing the sport, I end up playing year-round,” Zacca said. “So the only off-season I really have is just a few weeks here and there that I take to rest and recover.”
The determination he exhibits every day helps him become a better player.
Zacca practically lives at the courts playing pickup games, working out and playing in tournaments. He is always practicing with his family or friends.
“Playing with Zacca is really easy,” sophomore Adam Hartmann said. “He is always positive, he never gives up and [he] is always finding a way to improve his skills. He is also very good at volleyball.”
Hartmann plays with Zacca both for the Cowboys and during the summer season. They have become close friends because of their chemistry on and off the court.
“Between playing pickup games and tournaments with [Hartmann], we definitely have grown closer as partners. It is really helpful since you can always rely on each other to help improve each other,” Zacca said. “The best part about having a great teammate is that every time we play a game or tournament, it’s always really competitive and really fun, especially against other friends from rivaling schools.”
Zacca and Hartmann want to continue winning their matches and tournaments. Qualifying for tournaments is a big part of volleyball for Zacca.
“He is always positive, he never gives up and [he] is always finding a way to improve his skills.
“I plan on flying out to California in July [to] train with the national [beach volleyball] team that I was so fortunate to land a spot on,” Zacca said. “Eventually, [I will] participate in a tournament in December for a spot to represent the United States in a U17 national tournament in China. I hope to land that spot to compete in China and partner up with a longtime friend in Florida.”
Zacca set many goals for the upcoming year because he wants to make it far in his volleyball career. With more years of practice and experience, if the opportunity arises, Zacca would like to play beach volleyball at a professional level.
“Unfortunately, since the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) doesn’t recognize beach volleyball as a sport for the Men’s Division, I won’t be able to play [in] college,” Zacca said. “But that isn’t my long-term goal in the sport. My biggest goal that I have is to play professional beach volleyball at the highest level, which can be considered national/international.”
Zacca hopes volleyball will remain a major part of his life for years to come. To him, volleyball is more than a hobby or sport. It is his passion.
“I hope to land that spot to compete in China and partner up with a longtime friend in Florida.”
“If I’m being honest, I don’t know when I’ll stop playing beach volleyball. Beach volleyball can be played well into your 40’s, 50’s and even 60’s. Sure your athleticism will fade, but beach volleyball is a sport that can last a long time,” Zacca said. “What also makes this sport’s longevity is the community. [Because of] the various people you get to meet, you’ll always know someone who wants to play or just organize some fun and enjoyable games.”
Even though volleyball pushes people to the limit, Dylan Zacca is committed and driven. Beach volleyball is just like any other skill sport, one needs to put in the hard work and effort to see results. Zacca and his teammates believe he has the talent and drive to thrive in volleyball.
Photo by Cassie Hartmann