A few months after leading the Princeton men's volleyball team to its second EIVA championship match during his five-year tenure, Sam Shweisky was back on the sideline this summer. He served as assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s Junior National Team, which won bronze at the NORCECA U-21 Men’s Continental Championships in San Salvador, El Salvador.
Shweisky, a former EIVA Head Coach of the Year honoree, joined the staff of Lewis head coach Dan Friend and helped lead an injury-plagued American squad back to the medal stand. After two weeks of training at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, the team headed to El Salvador for the competition.
Following a 2-1 performance in pool play, with its lone loss coming to eventual champion Cuba, the US team found itself locked in a tight semifinal with Canada. Despite a 2-1 lead, the Americans ultimately fell in five, but they came back with a hard-fought 26-24, 25-19, 26-24 win over Puerto Rico to clinch the bronze medal.
"Being a part of USA volleyball has been an amazing privilege I have enjoyed at the youth and development level over the past 10 years,” Shweisky said. “To be asked to assist with the Men's Junior National Team is such an honor it is difficult to put into words.
“Anytime you get to represent your country in a foreign land and not only compete for the USA but also get to use it as a way to showcase the best of what America and Americans have to offer, it is a priceless experience,” he added. “I am so thankful to Coach Friend and USA Volleyball for this experience."
While there was plenty of high-level volleyball during his three weeks with Team USA, there were also strong relationships formed — and plenty of fun, as shown by a video Shweisky put together.
Shweisky got to spend some extra time with a familiar face in Lake Placid, as rising sophomore middle Junior Oboh was invited to train with the Men’s Junior A2 team at the historic Olympic venue. Both Oboh and setter Chris Kennedy were freshman starters on the men’s volleyball team that both ended a 35-year losing streak to Penn State and topped Harvard to reach the EIVA final.
There is no rest for Shweisky, whose volleyball versatility will lead him to another team. Shweisky serves as Sabrina King’s assistant coach on the Princeton women’s volleyball team, which opens its season Sept. 5 at the Temple Invitational.