The volleyball world was saddened to learn Monday that Dave Shoji, who just finished his 42nd year as the Hawai’i coach and a legend in the sport in so many ways, is taking a leave of absence after announcing he has prostate cancer.
Associate head coach Jeff Hall will oversee the program in Shoji’s absence as he undergoes treatment.
“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few weeks ago but I did not want to announce it and become a distraction to the team.” Shoji said. “I will be undergoing treatment that will take me away from my everyday coaching duties for the next several weeks. With the help of my team of doctors, my wife Mary, and the support of our family, I am trusting in God to get through this and see what my future holds.”
This past August Shoji got to watch his two sons play for the USA Olympic team and this season his Rainbow Wahine won the Big West. Shoji became just the second NCAA Division I head coach to reach the 1,200-victory milestone, joining Penn State’s Russ Rose. Shoji has a career record of 1,202-204-1.
NCAA semifinals move to ESPN
In a huge move for the volleyball community and one that could be a milestone for the sport, ESPN announced that Thursday’s national semifinals will be shown live on its main network, ESPN.
The 7 p.m. Eastern matchup between Stanford and Minnesota and the scheduled 9 p.m. start between Nebraska and Texas were originally scheduled for ESPN2. Both matches can still be seen online at ESPN3 or WatchESPN.
Saturday’s championship match is at 9 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.
Creighton’s Brittany Witt recovering
During her team’s round of 8 loss to Texas on Saturday, Creighton freshman libero Brittany Witt had a nasty collision with teammate Jaali Winters. She sustained a broken orbit bone
“I was diving for the ball and as I was going to get up, Jaali was turning around to play it and she kneed me in the face,” Witt said. “After that I couldn’t see, so I stayed on the ground to get help walking out. I do have a broken nose, an orbital fracture and a laceration above my eye. But I will be OK, and there’s not much pain … just a little bit of swelling.”
She tweeted this picture to let everyone know she’s OK. Witt received 13 stitches immediately after the match and returned to Omaha with her team on Sunday, albeit with a swollen right eye among other injuries.
Creighton won the Big East with an 18-0 record and had its best finish ever at 29-7.
Coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth said this about Witt on Monday while on an Omaha show The Bottom Line:
“First of all, she’s a tough kid. So when she went down, it was like, ‘Uh-oh, this is not good.’ She has an orbital fracture.
“For those of you like me who have no idea what that means, the bone below her eye is broken. She broke her nose and then she has 13 stitches above her eye. With that said, she has been smiling the entire time.
“She posted something with funny nose and ears on Twitter.
“She has not had a ‘poor me’ moment through it all. I think the real blessing is that there was no concussion or brain injury. No damage to her eye itself as far as vision. And she should be able to make a full recovery so we’re thankful for those things.”
LSU promotes Brock
Russell Brock, the former USC player listed as the assistant head coach for three seasons, has been promoted to head coach of the LSU beach volleyball program.
LSU finished ranked 10th in 2016 and had a strong recruiting year. Click here to read the entire LSU release.
BYU tops MPSF preseason poll
Men’s college volleyball gets going in two weeks and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation released its preseason coaches poll.
BYU is No. 1 with nine of the 12 first-place votes. No. 2 UCLA got the other three votes.