International Volleyball

Rediscovering herself on a trip of a lifetime

Rediscovering herself on a trip of a lifetime

HERMOSA BEACH, California — They called her Susie, and for seven weeks, Susie, a 27-year-old American working a farm in rural Sicily, lived a life that Zana Muno had long dreamed of.

She’d be on a bus by 8 in the morning, piling in with 13 others from around the globe, ranging from 70-year-old women from Sweden to peers her age from Germany and everywhere and every demographic between, and off they’d go, sometimes to the farm, sometimes on a field trip. There would be a lesson, coffee and cake at 10, lunch prep followed by, of course, “the most incredible lunch,” Zana said, another lesson, and the bus ride back.

The only semblance of her former life as a professional beach volleyball player would be a lift or hill sprints on the land of her host family before she’d return to the new: A home-cooked Italian dinner and a two or three-hour conversation with her host parents. They “didn’t speak a lick of English” Muno said, and she didn’t speak a lick of Italian so they’d chat over Google translate until she couldn’t fight sleep any longer.

“That was every day,” she said on SANDCAST: Beach Volleyball with Tri Bourne and Travis Mewhirter. “It’s something I will never forget.”

For nearly two months, that was Zana Muno’s life. During those two months, she did everything she had sought to do, everything she had designed for her life, save for one rather notable exception: play volleyball.

Nobody in Italy asked her about volleyball.

“They didn’t even know what a volleyball was,” she said. And for the first three weeks, gosh was that a beautiful thing. The weight of a mercurial 2023 season, the very weight that pushed her to spontaneously send in an application for the program without much thought, began to lift.

“I was so burnt,” Muno said. “Physically, mentally, emotionally, I’d never been in a place like that.”

It wasn’t that Muno’s season was bad. Not by most standards, anyway. It is difficult to label a season a bad one when a semifinal run at the Manhattan Beach Open is made. But it was somewhat directionless. A partnership with Kerri Walsh Jennings was put on indefinite hold as Walsh Jennings recovered from a foot injury. It left Muno in a strange limbo, playing mostly with Deahna Kraft — but that would only be until Walsh Jennings returned. She never did, which left Muno idling, playing with whomever was available while understandably holding out for the greatest player of all time to come back to the…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at…