Men's Update: Blogging from Berlin

By BJ Evans | April 21, 2015, 4:26 p.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 14, 2015) – Setter Kawika Shoji, who plays for the Berlin Recycling Volleys in Germany, has published a blog that details his experiences as a volleyball player overseas on the web site, The Cauldron.

Kawika Shoji
   Kawika Shoji (7) sets for Russell Holmes at the 2014 USAV Cup.

The blog is entitled, “Hey America, We are Your Players, Too!”

Shoji writes, “Just in my sport of volleyball alone, over (300) Americans are playing abroad. Some play for below the minimum wage in America; others support their entire families with the type of six (or seven) figure salaries typically associated with major American professional sports. Some come from small universities like Bradley or Northern Illinois; others hail from powerhouses like Stanford, UCLA, or Penn State. Some were NCAA All-Americans (some were even Players of the Year); others have been role players as far back as high school. Some now play in front of 35 spectators; others play in front of 15,000. Some come with wives (or husbands) and children; others are riding solo.”

Shoji was the 2010 AVCA Division I-II Player of the Year from Stanford and went on to join the senior U.S. Men’s Team in 2012. In 2014, he won an FIVB World League gold medal. He has competed for the Berlin Recycling Volleys each winter since 2012.

Kawika and his brother Erik Shoji also have a Tumblr at brothersberlin.tumblr.com/.  

WATCH THE U.S. MEN PLAY LIVE THIS SUMMER

There will be several chances to see the U.S. Men’s National Team play in the United States this summer, starting on May 15 when the team will play a Red-Blue scrimmage doubleheader with the U.S. Women’s Team at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, Calif.

The U.S. Women will play the opening Red-Blue match at 5:30 p.m. PT, followed by the U.S. Men at 7:30. An autograph session will follow the conclusion of the men’s match. Admission is $5 to watch both matches. Youth 18 and under are admitted free, as are Starlings Club teams and parents. The doubleheader will be the first public Red-Blue matches for both programs in 2015.

World League Tickets Page | USAV World League Page | FIVB World League Page

On May 21-23, the U.S. Men along with teams from Canada, Cuba and Mexico will battle in the first step toward 2016 Olympic Games qualification at the NORCECA Champions Cup at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. The event is free. For more information, CLICK HERE.

The following weekend, the U.S. Men will begin World League when they host Iran at the Galen Center on May 30 and 31 in Los Angeles. On June 5 and 6, the U.S. Men will play Russia at the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State. On June 12 and 13, the United States will host Poland at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill. For more information and to purchase tickets, CLICK HERE.

Finally, in their last U.S. appearance before the World Cup (the first Olympic qualifier), the Men’s National Team will host world No. 1 Brazil for four matches of the USAV Cup between Aug. 20 and 30 at venues around Southern California.

CEV CUP

Middle blocker Max Holt (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Russia’s Dinamo Moscow won the CEV Cup after going 1-1 with Italy’s Energy TI Diatec Trentino and winning a golden set on April 11.

After defeating Trentino in Italy on April 7 (25-23, 23-25, 25-22, 25-21), Moscow fell to the Italians at home, 25-27, 25-19, 25-17, 26-24. However, Moscow regrouped and came back to win the tie-breaking golden set, 15-12. Holt scored six points on four kills and two aces in the final match.

POLAND

In the final of the Polish Cup on April 19, U.S. opposite Murphy Troy (St. Louis, Mo.) and his Polish PlusLiga team Lotos Trefl Gdansk defeated Asseco Resovia Rzeszow, with middle blocker Russell Holmes (Fountain Valley, Calif.) and outside hitter Paul Lotman (Lakewood, Calif.), 25-22, 21-25, 25-21, 25-23. Troy was named the Best Server of the Cup. Troy finished the final with 15 points on 15 kills. Lotman played as a substitute and started the fourth set, scoring five points on five kills. Holmes played as a substitute and did not score.

In the first match of the league playoff finals, Rzeszow defeated Gdansk on April 15, 25-22, 25-20, 25-23. Troy finished with eight points on eight kills. Neither Lotman nor Holmes played in the match. The final round is best-of-five and the teams will play again on April 24.

U.S. libero AJ Nally (Rochester, N.Y.) and Transfer Bydgoszcz finished fifth in the league playoffs after going 1-1 in matches against ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle and winning a golden set playoff. After losing the first match, Bydgoszcz won the second match, 25-22, 25-22, 25-23 and won the golden set tie-breaker 15-12. Nally was credited with 22 receptions, 59 percent positive.

RUSSIA

Middle blocker David Lee (Alpine, Calif.) and Lokomotiv Novosibirsk defeated Fakel Novy Urengoy, 2-0 in the Russian league playoff series for fifth place. Lee played as a substitute in both matches.

Max Holt and Dinamo Moscow will play Gazprom Yugra Surgut for third place. That series begins April 23.

GERMANY

The Berlin Recycling Volleys, which includes libero Erik Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii), setter Kawika Shoji (Honolulu, Hawaii) and outside hitter Scott Touzinsky (St. Louis, Mo.) are down 0-1 in their playoff final series against Friedrichshafen. On April 18, Friedrichshafen defeated Berlin, 25-20, 23-25, 25-17, 25-23 in their best-of-five series. Touzinsky scored seven points on six kills and one ace. Erik Shoji was credited with 21 receptions, 52 percent positive. Kawika Shoji scored one point with an ace and set Berlin to a .395 hitting efficiency. The teams will play again on April 22.

Middle blocker Scott Kevorken (Westlake Village, Calif.) and Lüneburg finished their season on April 8 with a 25-17, 25-23, 22-25, 25-21 loss to Friedrichshafen in the semifinals. Kevorken scored six points on four kills and two blocks.

ITALY

In the league playoff quarterfinals, outside hitter Taylor Sander (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Calzedonia Verona are 1-1 with outside hitter Joe Sunder (Greensburg, Pa.) and Sir Safety Perugia in the best-of-three series. On April 11, Verona defeated Perugia, 25-18, 21-25, 25-16, 21-25, 15-12. Sander scored 19 points on 16 kills and three aces. Sunder played as a substitute and scored six points on six kills. On April 19, Perugia beat Verona, 25-19, 25-14, 24-26, 25-23. Sander scored eight points on five kills and three blocks. Sunder played as a substitute but did not score. The teams will play the tie-breaking match on April 22.

Setter Riley McKibbin (Honolulu, Hawaii) and CMC Ravenna ended their season April 19 after going 0-2 against Parmareggio Modena. McKibbin played as a substitute in both matches.

FRANCE

Middle blockers David Smith (Saugus, Calif.) and Dan McDonnell (Glendale, Ariz.) and their French team Tours have advanced to the semifinals of the French league playoffs. Tours defeated Sete, which includes outside hitter Taylor Crabb (Honolulu, Hawaii), 2-0 in the best-of three series. In the second match on April 14, Tours won 25-20, 25-18, 25-22. Smith scored eight points on four kills, two blocks and two aces. McDonnell added seven points on five kills, one block and one ace. Crabb played as a substitute and score two points on two kills. Tours will play AS Cannes in the semifinals, which begin on April 25.

Libero Dustin Watten (Long Beach, Calif.) and Ajaccio fell in the quarterfinals to Lyon, 2-1. In the final match on April 17, Lyon won, 25-27, 23-25, 25-22, 25-23, 15-9. Watten was credited with 46 receptions, 52 percent positive.

GREECE

Outside hitter Brian Cook(Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Panathinaikos fell to PAOK in the playoff semifinals, 3-2. In the final match on April 20, PAOK won 25-16, 25-16, 25-19. Cook scored 11 points on eight kills and three aces.