Boys Volleyball: Loyola Academy sophomore Wieczorek good as gold
Loyola's David Wieczorek tips the ball against Glenbrook South during the match on Tuesday, April 3, 2012 . | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 28, 2012 8:04AM
It’s commonplace for sons to emulate their fathers, making volleyball the natural path for Loyola Academy sophomore Dave Wieczorek.
Wieczorek first started playing volleyball when he was 3 years old. He began playing club volleyball at an early age and was always coached by his father, Al Wieczorek, a two-time gold medalist with USA Volleyball.
Years of practice have paid off for Wieczorek this season, which is his first full year on Loyola’s varsity team. The Ramblers sophomore has provided coach Lionel Ebeling with another tall, powerful outside hitter to combine with hitters Sean Barry, Chris Bulava and James McCabe.
Wieczorek’s introduction to varsity volleyball didn’t correspond with the start of the 2012 season, however. Wieczorek played the majority of his freshman season on Loyola’s JV, but was called up to start in his first varsity match in Loyola’s regional final.
The experience of being called up and starting in such a high-pressure match provided the underclassmen with increased confidence, which has made his transition to a full-time varsity player easier this season.
“(It) gave me confidence that the coaches had confidence in me — just that I could step up,” Wieczorek said.
This year he’s done just that, meeting high expectations for himself, both offensively and defensively. Standing 6-foot-5, it’s not a surprise to see Wieczorek hammer powerful spikes, but his ability and maturity to stay on the floor and play quality defense harkens to a long history playing the sport.
Wieczorek’s full-time transition into the Ramblers’ starting lineup occurred in the offseason.
“During open gyms, our coach usually put the starting lineup together just so we could just kind of jell better, and we could get team chemistry,” Wieczorek said. “After tryouts he told me I was starting, so I was pretty excited.”
Through the midway-point of the season, that strategy has worked. Wieczorek has grown close to his teammates and fit in almost immediately, largely because of the welcoming attitude of Loyola’s older players.
“You’re always nervous if the seniors are going to like you, or call you a freshman,” Wieczorek said. “Everyone’s been really nice. Even with the other sophomores they’ve been really good. There’s no hate on our team; everyone’s friends.”
With a father who won a gold medal and a long history in the sport, Wieczorek has set lofty expectations for the remainder of this season, along with his final two years at Loyola.
“Personally, I think they’re high,” Wieczorek said. “I don’t think I’ve reached my potential yet. I still think I can grow.”