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U.S. Men's Update: Kawika Shoji Shares

By BJ Evans | Jan. 31, 2014, 5:19 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jan. 31, 2013) – We interviewed U.S. setter Kawika Shoji before the start of the 2013 FIVB World League, which was his first major competition with the U.S. Men’s National Team.

Find out how Shoji prepares for a big match in the video above.

GERMANY

Kawika Shoji, Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) and the Berlin Recycling Volleys are in second place in the German league. On Jan. 30, Berlin defeated VSG Coburg/Grub, 25-18, 25-21, 25-19. Touzinsky scored 10 points on nine kills and one block and was also credited with 20 receptions, 70 percent positive. Shoji scored four points on one block and three aces and set Berlin to a 55.7 kill percent.

RUSSIA

Teammates, Penn State alums and good friends Matt Anderson and Max Holt battled on Jan. 26 in the round-robin stage of the Cup of Russia tournament being played in Belgorod.

In the end, outside hitter Anderson (West Seneca, N.Y.) and his Russian Super League team Zenit Kazan defeated middle blocker Holt (Cincinnati) and Dinamo Moscow, 25-20, 25-23, 14-25, 18-25, 17-15.  View a photo gallery.

Anderson finished with 17 points on 14 kills, two blocks and one ace. Holt had nine points on five kills and four blocks.

Both teams, however, advanced to the semifinals on Jan. 30.

Holt and Moscow defeated Gazprom Yugra, 25-19, 25-19, 25-12. Holt finished with five points on two kills, one block and two aces. Anderson and Kazan fell to hosts Belogorie Belgorod, 25-18, 25-23, 25-16 in the semis. Anderson led Kazan with 10 points in the match. View a photo gallery.

In the final on Jan. 31, Holt and Moscow fell to Belgorod, 25-20, 25-22, 25-18. Holt scored eight points on four kills, a team-high three blocks and one ace. Kazan defeated Yugra for third place, 23-25, 25-17, 25-20, 24-26, 15-11. Anderson did not play in the match as Kazan rested him to prepare for their upcoming Champions Cup matches.

CEV CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Three teams with U.S. players remain in the CEV Champions League.

Outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.) and Asseco Resovia Rzeszow will face their Polish rivals Jastrzebski Wegiel on Feb. 5 and 11.

Setter Donald Suxho (Korce, Albania) and his Italian team Diatec Trentino will play Russia’s Belogorie Belgorod on Feb. 5 and 11.

Matt Anderson and Zenit Kazan will play Italy’s Copra Elior Piacenza on Feb. 6 and 12.

All Champions League matches are available live and on demand at laola1.tv.

POLAND

Paul Lotman and Asseco Resovia Rzeszow went 1-1 in PlusLiga play over the past week. On Jan. 26, Rzeszow fell to AZS Politechnika Warszawska, 27-25, 23-25, 25-21, 27-25. Lotman started the first and fifth sets and scored seven points on seven kills. On Jan. 29, Rzeszow defeated Effector Kielce, 25-17, 25-23, 25-22. Lotman started the first two sets and scored six points on five attacks and one ace.

Opposite Carson Clark (Santa Barbar, Calif.), outside hitter Garrett Muagututia (Oceanside, Calif.) and their Polish team Transfer Bydgoszcz also went 1-1 over the past week. On Jan. 25, Bydgoszcz fell to Jastrzębski Węgiel, 25-19, 25-12, 25-22. Clark and Muagututia tied as scoring leaders for their team as they each scored seven points. On Jan 29, Bydgoszcz came back to defeat BBTS Bielsko-Biała, 25-19, 25-18, 25-17. Muagututia led all players in scoring with 16 points on 16 kills. Clark added 15 points on 14 attacks and one ace.

FRANCE

Middle blocker David Smith (Saugus, Calif.), outside hitter Jayson Jablonsky (Yorba Linda, Calif.) and their French league team Tours have moved into first place in the league. On Jan. 25, Tours defeated middle blocker Futi Tavana (Kalaheo, Hawaii) and Toulouse, 25-19, 25-20, 25-27, 25-21, 15-10. Jablonsky scored 12 points on 12 kills. Smith added seven points on six attacks and one block. Tavana finished with 11 points on eight attacks and three blocks.

Opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) led all scorers with 20 points but his French team St-Nazaire fell to Nantes Rezé, 27-25, 18-25, 25-23, 25-15. Troy scored on 19 kills and one block.

BELGIUM

Outside hitter Jeff Menzel (Santa Barbara, Calif.) led his Belgium team Noliko Masseik to a 25-15, 25-17, 25-20 win over VDK Gent on Jan. 29. Menzel led all scorers with 19 points on 17 kills, one block and one ace. Maaseik is in fourth place in the league.

AUSTRIA

Libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii), middle blocker Andy Hein (Carol Stream, Ill.) and their Austrian team Hypo Tirol are in first place in the league and went 2-0 over the past week. On Jan. 22, Tirol defeated SK Posojilnica Aich/Dob, 27-25, 25-21, 25-21. Shoji was credited with 14 receptions, 71 percent positive. Hein added three points on two kills and one block. On Jan. 29, Tirol beat SG VCA Amstetten Hypo NÖ, 25-21, 25-19, 25-22. Shoji was credited with 17 receptions, 65 percent positive. Hein started the first two sets but did not score.

ITALY

Donald Suxho and Diatec Trentino sit in third place in the Italian Serie A League. On Jan. 26, Trentino defeated Exprivia Molfetta, 25-19, 25-17, 25-23. Suxho scored five points on three kills and two blocks and also set Trentino to a 51.7 kill percent. On Jan. 29, Trentino defeated Casa Modena in the first round of the Cup of Italy, 21-25, 25-13, 25-20, 25-23. Suxho did not score, but set Trentino to a 54.4 kill percent. To view highlights, click here.

TURKEY

On Jan. 26, middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and Istanbul BBSK defeated Konak Bld., which includes U.S. opposite Will Price (Gaithersburg, Md.), 25-20, 25-14, 25-23. Holmes scored eight points on five kills, one block and two aces. Price led all scorers with 22 points on 17 kills, three blocks and two aces. Istanbul is in fourth place in the league while Konak is in 10th


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