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Am Samoa’s women’s volleyball team heads to semifinals as men’s team rallies

American Samoa blockers

Honiara, SOLOMON ISLANDS — Day 3 of the 2023 Pacific Games was a good day for Team American Samoa’s men’s and women’s volleyball teams.

Especially for the men’s team which suffered three consecutive losses at the hands of Fiji, Papua New Guinea and Tahiti respectively.

For the women’s team, they started their Pacific Games campaign with a loss to Tahiti, then found their momentum in their next two outings, winning comfortably in three straight sets against Tuvalu and PNG.

The men’s team finally clicked and won their first set, then Tuvalu took the second set. Eager to regain their momentum, American Samoa came back strongly and won the next two straight sets to take the game.

Coach Reno Amisone told Samoa News that he was very happy with the result because his team really needed a morale boost.

 “I knew my boys can do it but it’s just their mental game that’s costing them,” Amisone revealed.

American Samoa will now face PNG who defeated Tahiti yesterday, in the quarterfinals today (Thursday, Nov. 23, 2023) at 5pm local time (7pm American Samoa time).

On the other hand, the American Samoa women’s team has earned their place in the semifinals after the hard fought quarter-final battle with Samoa yesterday.

Samoa which is in Pool B with Fiji, New Caledonia and Tuvalu had two losses and one win over Tuvalu.

The first set was taken by American Samoa, then Samoa regrouped and came back strongly to take the next two sets to lead 2-1.

Stung into action, American Samoa refused to go down without a fight. 

And fight they did, in a thrilling set that would determine their fate if they succumbed to the fired-up Samoan team.

One member of the Samoan team Fofoga Vaimoli is no stranger to American Samoa as she had attended high school in the Territory, first at Leone High School and then Tafuna High School where she graduated in 2019.

She then acquired a volleyball scholarship and attended Eastern New Mexico University.

She had lived in the Territory because her father was a Methodist pastor at the Pava’ia’i Methodist Parish, but relocated to Samoa when her father was reassigned by the church to work at the Puipa’a Methodist Parish.

Fofoga was one of the key players of the Samoa team and was responsible for many of their points with her powerful spikes and clever place plays.

Unfortunately for Samoa, the American Samoa team was determined to stay in the game and with good communication, they moved together like a well-oiled engine, one covering the other with dexterity.

They were rewarded with a 25-23 win, and the game went into a fifth and final 15-point set.

The points went head to head until it was 11-all, then American Samoa in a mighty effort fought their way to match point and won 15-11 to seal their place in the semis today, where they will face the powerful New Caledonia team which defeated the Solomon Islands in three straight sets yesterday evening.

Head Coach Mafutaga Taveuveu was full of praise for his team and how they kept their cool despite being behind in the points table.

 “We started strong but then there was a disconnection among the girls which cost us the two sets,” said Coach Taveuveu. “But they regrouped and got their game going again through communication. Samoa is a strong team, but the commitment and competitiveness that our girls showed on the court gave us the win in the end.”

This Pacific Games report has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of Paramount Builders, Inc. and ASNOC.