U.S. Men's Update: Kawika Shoji in Berlin
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 8, 2014) – U.S. setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) is playing his third season in Berlin this winter. We asked him to tell a little about his experience there:
This is my third season in Berlin, so I have really gotten to know the city, culture, food, and language quite well. I am lucky to have some great teammates and friends from all over Europe, including Germany, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, and Czech Republic, and of course my native English speakers, Scott Touzinsky (LBSU graduate) and Paul Carroll (Pepperdine graduate).
Hands down, the best part of Berlin is its history! This city was at the center of or played a large part in basically every major 20th century historical event, including World War I, the Holocaust, World War II, and the Cold War, and there are so many sites to see. Parts of the original Berlin Wall, the symbol of communism, are even still erect throughout the city. Here, you can see me standing in front of the East Side Gallery, a part of the wall now used for paintings with political and social meaning. When I am not playing volleyball or lifting weights, I like to drive around the city in my little smart car (it's great for parking!) to visit some of the sites and learn as much as I can. I also like to talk to many of my German friends because their family's all have incredible stories. The wall just came down in 1989!
Besides being historical, Berlin is also one of the most internationally eclectic cities in the world. I appreciate meeting people from different cultures, eating many types of great food, and having so many things to do while I live in Europe. I recommend you visit Berlin, and maybe you can check out a Berlin Recycling Volleys match while you are here!
You can become a fan of Kawika Shoji on Facebook at facebook.com/KawikaShoji.
FUERBRINGER’S EUROPEAN VISIT
U.S. Men’s Assistant Coach Matt Fuerbringer (Costa Mesa, Calif.) is in Europe meeting with U.S. players competing there and posted this photo of himself with middle blocker Jacek Ratajczak (Warsaw, Poland) to Twitter.
You can follow Matt Fuerbringer on Twitter at twitter.com/mattyfuerbs.
The Polish Plus Liga completed the regular season with outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Colo.) and Asseco Resovia in first place with an 18-4 record. U.S. opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and outside hitter Garrett Muagututia (Oceanside, Calif.) and their Polish team Transfer Bydgoszcz finished in ninth place. In its final regular season match, Bydgoszcz defeated Lotos Trefl Gdańsk, 17-25, 18-25, 28-26, 27-25, 17-15. Muagututia finished with nine points on eight kills and one block. He was also credited with 19 receptions, 68 percent positive. Clark started the first two sets and scored five points on four attacks and one block.
Asseco Resovia will play Effector Kielce in the playoffs starting on March 8 while Bydoszcz will play AZS Częstochowa starting on March 22.
Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii), middle blocker Andy Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) and their Austrian team Hypo Tirol rolled through the quarterfinals of the Austrian league playoffs, defeating VBC Weiz in three matches without dropping a set. They will play the Vienna hotVolleys in the next round.
Kawika Shoji, outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) and the Berlin Recycling Volleys fell in the final of the German Cup to VfB Friedrichshafen, 20-25, 25-15, 20-25, 25-16, 15-12. Touzinsky scored eight points on five kills, two blocks and one ace. He was also credited with 32 receptions, 56 percent positive. Shoji scored four points on two kills and two blocks and also set the team to a 47.5 kill percent.
Outside hitter Matt Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and his Russian team Zenit Kazan defeated Kuzbass Kemerovo, 27-25, 25-19, 25-23 on March 4. Anderson scored 18 points on 16 kills and two aces. Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati) and Dinamo Moscow beat Ural Ufa on March 5, 25-22, 25-20, 25-19. Holt scored nine points on three attacks and a match-high six blocks. To view photos from the match, click here.
Middle blocker Futi Tavana (Kalaheo, Hawaii) and Toulouse defeated opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) and St-Nazaire, 25-23, 25-22, 25-10 on March 1. Tavana scored six points on four kills and two blocks. Troy led his team with 12 points on 12 attacks. Middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.), outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and Tours beat AS Cannes, 23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20 on Feb. 28. Smith scored 12 points on nine attacks and a team-high three blocks. Jablonsky started the first set and scored six points on four kills and two blocks.
Outside hitter Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.) and his Belgium league team Noliko Maaseik finished the regular season in third place in the league while U.S. middle blocker U.S. player Jacek Ratajczak (Warsaw, Poland) and Asse-Lennik placed fourth. In their final regular season matches, Menzel and Maaseik fell to VT Knack Roeselare, 24-26, 20-25, 25-22, 25-18, 15-11. Menzel scored 11 points on nine kills and two blocks. He was also credited with 27 receptions. Asse-Lennik lost to Precura Antwerpen, 25-23, 25-22, 25-21. Ratajczak scored seven points on four kills, one block and two aces.
Setter Donald Suxho (Korce Albania) and his Italian team Diatec Trentino have advanced to the semifinals of the Cup of Italy where they will play Copra Elior Piacenza on March 8.
Middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and his Turkish league team Istanbul BBSK beat Guymushane Torul Genclik on March 5, 25-20, 25-19, 25-17. Holmes scored seven points on six attacks and one block. In the CEV Challenge Cup, Istanbul defeated visiting Andreoli Latina of Italy, 34-36, 25-16, 25-21, 19-25, 15-13 on March 2. However, Latina advanced to the Challenge Cup final. In the semifinals, Holmes scored seven points on four kills, one block and two aces.
Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) and his Chinese league team Tang Dynasty Hotel Shanghai have advanced to the semifinals of the league playoffs where they are 2-0 against Bayi. Lee scored six points in the first match and nine in the second.