Samoa secured a remarkable 3-1 (25-23, 25-18, 23-25, 25-15) victory over New Caledonia in a gripping men’s volleyball clash on the first day of competition at Honiara’s Friendship Hall on Friday. Despite New Caledonia’s spirited defence, Samoa emerged victorious.
The encounter unfolded as a thrilling back-and-forth, showcasing remarkable plays from both teams that captivated the audience. Team Samoa’s relentless pursuit of victory demonstrated a high level of determination and precision, setting the tone for the entire match.
New Caledonia, displaying commendable resilience, managed to win a hard-fought third set, keeping spectators on the edge of their seats until the very end.
Team Samoa’s fourth-set triumph not only solidifies their position as a regional volleyball force but also highlights the competitive spirit and sportsmanship at the Friendship Hall. The match witnessed by the Honiara and international volleyball community promises to live long in the memory.
Speaking to the Games News Service post-match, Jason Tavitoqou, a key player from the victorious Samoa team, expressed his excitement following the thrilling victory. “This was a hot game for us, and we’re absolutely thrilled to come out on top against a strong opponent like New Caledonia. It was a challenging match, and their resilience made it even more exciting for both the players and the fans.”
Reflecting on the team’s performance, Tavitoqou highlighted the significance of the win and the hard work that went into securing it. He said: “We knew New Caledonia would bring their A-game, and we had to stay focused and work together as a team. Each point was hard-earned, and we’re proud of what we’ve achieved”.
Looking ahead, Tavitoqou conveyed the team’s aspirations, saying: “This victory is a stepping stone for us. We’re not resting on our laurels. We’re already setting our sights on the next matches, and our goal is to maintain this momentum and secure more wins for Samoa.”
New Caledonia’s Maitoku Nailu said the tight encounter reflected their committed preparations for the Sol2023 Pacific Games.
“We are well-prepared, and today’s match against Samoa was a testament to our determination. Despite the outcome, we gave it our all, and there are valuable lessons to take away from this game,” he said.
“Tomorrow is another day, and we will be giving our best in the upcoming matches. Our goal is to showcase the best of New Caledonia’s volleyball talent and make a mark in these Pacific Games. We’re here to compete and to bring our A-game to the court.”
In Friday’s other Pool A match, Kiribati defeated hosts Solomon Islands 3 -2.
In Pool B, Samoa 2019 Pacific Games Volleyball champions Tahiti kicked off their campaign in style with an impressive win over Fiji. The high-flying Tahitians won by 3 sets to 1 over a spirited Fiji side.
Tahiti took out the first two sets 25-23 and 25-19. Fiji bounced back after the breather to take out the third set 25-21 bringing the match to an exciting close, much to the liking of the packed crowed in attendance. Tahiti held on to win a nail-biting final set 26-24 and took home the victory.
In the day’s other Pool B match, Papua New Guinea (PNG) defeated Tuvalu 3-0.
Volleyball continues at Friendship Hall on Saturday, with the commencement of the women’s competition (four matches) and a further four clashes in the men’s tournament.
Tickets to watch these exciting matches can be purchased for $30(SBD) at the Our Telekom Office, Point Cruz.
By Steven Kamoa and Walter Sale, Pacific Games News Service