David Wieczorek, a junior outside
hitter on the men's volleyball team, played for the U.S. National Team this
summer. He shared what this opportunity meant to him and his goals for the upcoming
Q: This summer you had to opportunity to play for the U.S. National Team! What was the process of getting invited and making the team like?
A: The process was really just an email from the assistant coach. The email came toward the end of the season and they were pretty interested. I think it speaks to how you play during the season and how your name gets out. They are looking at who is doing what in the college season. Matt Fuerbringer emailed me and we had a good dialogue going. Then I got the invite.
Q: Was playing for the national team something you had always wanted to do?
A: It was definitely the ultimate goal. It has been my dream ever since I was a little kid to do it. Probably since I was three years old, I always wanted to play for the National Team. Hopefully I can continue to do it.
Q: While you were playing on the team, where did you get to travel to and what did you do there?
A: We were mainly practicing in Anaheim the whole summer and the majority of the team got to travel all over. Since I was the second-youngest guy in the gym, I stayed in Anaheim training. When I got to travel, I went to Canada and got to play in the Pan American Games, which was awesome.
Q: How does playing for the national team compare to playing for Pepperdine?
A: Pepperdine prepared me pretty well because Marv (Dunphy), Dave (Hunt), and (Sean) Rooney have all had experience with the national team. Rooney has a gold medal playing for the team, Marv has a gold medal coaching and Dave has been with the women's team forever. You can see the resemblance between training at Pepperdine and training for the national team. Things are pretty similar like the standards set, the technique and form. The only difference is not playing with people who get recruited to your school. They are from all over.
Q: What was it like being teammates with players that you have been playing against in the past?
A: The first week it was kind of weird getting used to. I played against these people for two years, so when I went up against them I thought, "Oh I don't really like that guy." After being there, they are probably some of the best friends I had. They are really good guys. Even the guys who I was competing with for spots were really good guys and good friends. There were some really cool bonds created.
Q: While in the Pan American Cup, you played against a former Pepperdine alum in Maurice Torres, who plays for Puerto Rico. Did you get the chance to talk with him while you were there?
A: I actually ran into him in the elevator at our hotel and we talked the last night. He was so genuine and really nice. You could tell he was a Wave. He played really well during the tournament. His level was above and beyond a lot of the players there and it was really cool to see.
Q: How will this experience affect you moving forward in your volleyball career?
A: I think the opportunity to be at the USA gym was incredible and a dream come true. I want to definitely go back and hopefully I will get the invite. Things went really well this summer. Getting in those reps over the four months this summer did wonders for my game. Every aspect of my game improved and I am excited to see that come out in this gym. It has given me a lot of confidence being able to play at that level with those guys and compete and realize that I belong there, and in certain instances I can beat them. It has been good for my own mental confidence.
Q: What was your favorite part of being a part of the national team?
A: There were two things. The experience of getting to play with and represent the U.S, while also working with some of the best coaches was amazing. Also, getting to know the guys that I would normally play against and becoming good friends with them. It was like a family in a way. We were training for four months and got to play. It was incredible to be able to play and enhance my game while also creating great relationships and realizing these guys are awesome.
Q: You also had a switch of coaches over this summer. What are your thoughts on Marv Dunphy retiring and David Hunt being named head coach?
A: First and foremost, Marv is awesome. He is still around, and I have a class with him, so I get to see him often. I know that he will still be helping us. I am really sad that he is retiring because he was the one who recruited me and is a big part of my life. I understand that when it is time, it's time. On the flipside, I am really excited for Dave. I have talked to him and I am excited for the season. He is so good at what he does and he puts a lot of work into everything he does, and he has helped my game so much since I have been here.
Q: What are your personal and team goals for this season?
A: My personal goal is to keep continuing to get better and improve my game. Another goal would be to continue playing with the national team and train with them and hopefully one day make it on an Olympic team. I think the goal for me is to continue to improve and think about how I can make our team better by enhancing my skills to help us win. The team goal is the NCAA championship. We have a new coach, which is awesome. He is going to do great and he already is doing great. Everyone's goal is to keep getting better over these next couple of months and be the team we want to be in May when the National Championships come around.