Loyola grad Dave Wieczorek leads Pepperdine men’s volleyball into postseason: For the first time in his career, Pepperdine redshirt senior Dave Wieczorek (Class of 2014) will play in the National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball Championship. The Waves, who won the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, play Princeton in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Long Beach State. 

A 6-foot-8 outside hitter, Wieczorek has collected numerous individual honors while at Pepperdine. He’s a two-time conference player of the year and was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s All-American first team. It’s his third All-American selection. 

This season is special because his individual success has translated into team success. Pepperdine last qualified for the NCAA tournament in 2008. That year was the last time the Waves won the MPSF tournament. The last time they finished first in the regular season was 2014.

“It makes all of the individual awards so much sweeter,” Wieczorek said. “We have a good group of guys, and it was great to get the monkey off of our back by getting to the tournament. It’s an awesome feeling.”

If the Waves win Tuesday, they play defending national champion Long Beach State in the semifinals Thursday. The final is Saturday. Hawaii-Manoa is the top seed in the seven-team field. 

A five-time national champion — the second most titles in NCAA history — Pepperdine is looking for its first one since 2005. 

“I’m a human being, and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t daydreamed about what it would be like it win it all,” Wieczorek said. “But you have to hone yourself in and focus on the next match. For us, that is Princeton.”

After his college career is over, Wieczorek, who graduated Saturday, plans to train with USA Volleyball’s national team for the second summer in a row. He then will head to Europe to pursue a professional career. 

“I’m proud of the season I’ve had, and I believe I’ve gotten better every year,” he said. “That’s a testament to hard work and training as well as my coaches and teammates. It’s been an awesome experience.”

Representing Loyola and his hometown has been a major motivator for Wieczorek, a Chicago native and product of St. Thelca, ever since arriving at Pepperdine. 

“I’m proud of my roots and a key aspect of who I am,” he said. “I’m a big Chicago guy and Midwest guy, and I love the Loyola volleyball program. It was a dream of mine from a young age to become the player I am today, and I owe a lot of that to the people who helped me and gave me opportunities.”

Photo credit: Martin A. Folb