Shoji brothers picked as first-team All-Americans


POSTED: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Few doubted this would happen. Born with silver volleyballs in their hands, the Shoji brothers were destined for success.

It's happened for them through their high school careers. It happened again yesterday.

Stanford freshman libero Erik Shoji (Punahou '08) was named the AVCA newcomer of the year and also joined his older brother, Kawika ('Iolani '06), the Cardinal's junior setter, as a first-team All-American. The two are the first Stanford teammates to receive such honors since Canyon Ceman and Dave Goss in 1993, and are believed to be the first brothers to be named first-team All-Americans in the same season.

“;It's pretty nice,”; their father, Dave, the Hawaii women's volleyball coach, said. “;They've lived in the gym. They've played volleyball since they were old enough to walk. But please give credit to their mom. She always seems to be forgotten.”;

Mary Tennefos Shoji, a former Wahine basketball player, is a teacher and coach at Punahou.

“;It's a very well-deserved honor,”; Stanford coach John Kosty said. “;They had tremendous years in guiding us to our best season since we won the national championship (1997).”;

Stanford went 21-11 this season, the most wins since its title campaign. The Cardinal finished fourth in the Mountain Pacific Sport Federation, losing to USC—the eventual MPSF tournament winner—in a quarterfinal.

Kawika Shoji, a second-team All-American last season, had 1,394 assists to set a school single-season record for the rally-scoring era (since 2001), and led the Cardinal to a .305 hitting percentage, one of the best in the country.

Erik Shoji led the country in digs with 447, believed to be a national single-season record. The highest total found in record books was 379.

“;He blew away his competition in any decade,”; Kosty said. “;His numbers were truly staggering. Unless somebody proves us wrong, I believe he dug more volleyballs than anybody in the history of men's volleyball.”;

Erik Shoji is the second Hawaii high school product to take the newcomer honor in four years. UC Irvine libero Brent Asuka ('Iolani '05) was selected in 2006.

Also named to the first team were Ryan Ammerman of UC Irvine, Long Beach State's Dean Bittner, Paul Carroll of Pepperdine, Cal State Northridge's Eric Vance, USC's Murphy Troy and Penn State's Max Holt, Max Lipsitz and Will Price.

The national player of the year will be announced tomorrow.