Preston star to play volleyball at DeSalle University

Katie Dziuma will trade in her Panthers jersey for a Bulldogs uniform.

It was the greatest volleyball tandem in the Bronx – Katie Dziuma sets to Carolyn Damo for the kill and Preston wins the Archdiocese City Championship – but now, as Damo heads to the University of Toledo for a career in engineering, her partner is looking to turn high school success into college glory. 

Throggs Neck resident and current Preston graduate, Katie Dziuma, 18, will be heading to DeSalle University, in Pennsylvania, this fall to play volleyball for last year’s NCAA Division III championship team.  Her former coaches have no doubt that she will succeed. 

“I have coached her since she was in third grade and I used to coach her sisters,” said Preston athletic director Jamie Skrapits.  “But Katie – she had that eye of the tiger – I knew she was the one.  I watched her play for 10 years and I have no doubt that she will add a lot to the team.”

DeSalle recruited Dziuma, after viewing a tape of her in action. In turn, the former St. Frances de Chantal alum, who will attend college partially through grant monies, enjoyed the sense of camaraderie she felt while visiting her new team.

“The bond I had with Carolyn was very unique,” she said of her championship partner.  “We were best friends.  And while I am not sure if that will ever be duplicated, I felt like I already started developing bonds with the outside hitters on my new team.”

It’s that camaraderie that led Dziuma to choose to continue her volleyball career over basketball, where she also enjoyed much success as a member of the Panthers team. 

“I played basketball year round and got tired of it.  It was time to hang up my sneakers,” she admits.  “Volleyball just came naturally for me.  I really love the sport, especially this year.”

Dziuma’s setting abilities, along with an amazing jump serve helped Preston to a perfect record en route to a city championship.  Preston fell short of a state title.  Now Dziuma’s goals are on a national level. 

“I know it will be a lot harder in college,” she continued,  “and the fact that they were champions last year, puts a lot of pressure on me, but the amount of work I put into basketball has helped prepare me for what’s ahead.”

Outside of volleyball, Dziuma is uncertain of what she will study in college, but knows that volleyball will play a major role in her future, whether it is the beach volleyball circuit or the Olympics – in the end, it will all come back to Preston. 

“I loved being at Preston,” she said, noting that she was around when her sisters attended.  “It was not just a school; it was a place where I grew up.  They prepared me for the future and I look forward to visiting and helping out where I can. 

And when I graduate,” she continued, “I hope to come back as a coach, and lead this school to another championship.”

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