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Shojis, Christenson headed to Tokyo Olympics

Erik Shoji (left) and his brother Kawika Shoji speak on the bench during a preliminary match against Canada at the 2016 Rio Olympics. AP file photos

The Associated Press and The Maui News

Oahu natives Micah Christenson and Kawika and Erik Shoji are among 12 players who have been selected to the U.S. men’s volleyball team for next month’s Tokyo Olympics, coach John Speraw announced on Monday.

The Shoji brothers — sons of legendary University of Hawaii women’s coach Dave Shoji — and Christenson were all part of the Americans’ bronze medal-winning team in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Setter Christenson and libero Erik Shoji both started the bronze-medal match against Russia, which the U.S. rallied to win in five sets.

Three other players (middle blocker Max Holt and outside hitters Thomas Jaeschke and Taylor Sander) are also making their second Olympic appearances, while Matt Anderson and David Smith were picked for their third Olympics.

There will be four Olympic newcomers on the team in opposite Kyle Ensing, outside hitters T.J. DeFalco and Garrett Muagututia, and middle blocker Mitch Stahl.

Micah Christenson of the U.S. dives for the ball during a men’s preliminary volleyball match against Italy at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 9, 2016. Christenson and fellow Hawaii natives Kawika and Erik Shoji have been selected to the U.S. team for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.

The U.S. men are ranked No. 3 in the world and are currently competing at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy.

The Tokyo Olympics are set to open July 23, and the U.S. men are scheduled to begin preliminary play July 24 against France.

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