A Shoji influence on USA national men's volleyball team


The United States men's national volleyball team successfully defended its home turf, winning all six of its matches played on U.S. soil through the first three weeks of the FIVB World Men's Volleyball League.

The next three weeks will be interesting as the fifth-ranked Americans, with Stanford grads Kawika Shoji and Erik Shoji, will be spending their time on foreign soil, beginning with Iran this weekend. Cardinal grad Matt Fuerbringer is an assistant coach for Team USA.

The United States is the defending champion of World League, which is the premier international men's volleyball tournament. Teams play six weekends of pool play in hopes of qualifying for the Final Round and a check for $1 million.

The U.S. currently leads Pool B with 17 points, followed by Poland with 11, Iran with 7 and Russia with 1. The top two teams qualify for the Final Round in Rio de Janiero, which begins July 15.

Matt Anderson and Erik Shoji rank 1-2 in the World League (which consists of 32 teams overall) in the Best Receiver category, with an efficiency rating of 74.06 and 69.15, respectively. Shoji ranks eighth in the Best Digger category at 1.46 digs per set.

Men's soccer

Touch Soccer USA and Boom Productions will premiere a web-based series highlighting the Stanford men's soccer team with the first two of six episodes on Thursday.

Succeeding episodes will be released every Thursday culminating with the finale on July 16.

The program delves into every facet of life as a Cardinal men's soccer player and Stanford student-athlete.

Following the team throughout its spring season, Touch Soccer USA and Boom Productions gathered behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with coaches, players, staff and professional alumni to craft a full picture of life on The Farm.

Memorable moments from Pac-12 Networks' broadcasts of the program's 2014 conference championship run enhance the series' storytelling.

Stanford had a historic season in 2014, including the program's first league title since 2001, a No. 1 NSCAA ranking, its most wins (13) since 2002 and its best winning percentage (.763) since 2001.

The team went 13-3-3 overall and 6-1-3 in conference to advance to its second consecutive NCAA Tournament. Stanford has posted back-to-back seasons of double-digit wins for the first time since 2001-02.

In 2015 the Cardinal returns a pair of NSCAA/Continental Tire First Team All-Americans in forward Jordan Morris and left back and captain Brandon Vincent.

That duo is joined by two of the country's best freshmen from 2014 in Corey Baird and Tomas Hilliard-Arce. Both made Soccer America All-Freshman squads, Baird was on the NSCAA/Continental Tire All-Far West Region Second Team and Hilliard-Arce made that organization's All-Far West Region Third Team.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/Stanford Athletics

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