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Fiji wins opening Oceania Continental Cup match

All smiles for Fiji's (left to right) Vilimone Rokomurimuri, Manasa Rogoivalu, Wayne Fisher and Filimoni Serevi after posting two wins over Samoa Wednesday at the Oceania Continental Cup playoffs.
Tauranga, New Zealand, March 10, 2020 - The Oceania portion of the Asian Volleyball Confederations Continental Cup competition began here Tuesday with Fiji posting a pair of men's wins over Samoa to advance to Wednesday's schedule on the Mount Maunganui courts.

Fiji will play host New Zealand in the second of two men's matches Wednesday at 1:20 p.m. (local time) with Australia being challenged by Tuvalu at 10 a.m. in the first men's semi-final where the winning two countries are guaranteed a spot in the Asian Continental Cup finals scheduled for late June in China.

Wednesday's women's semi-finals have Vanuatu playing the Solomon Islands at 11:40 a.m. followed by host New Zealand meeting Fiji as the winning nations will also advance to the Asian Continental Cup finals in China.

Tuesday's early afternoon technical meeting

Fiji opened play Tuesday with Wayne Fisher and Manasa Rogoivalu posting a 2-0 (21-16, 21-12) win over Samoa's Asi Samuelu Tevaga and Junior Faletogo.  After dropping the first set in the second Fiji/Samoa match, Filimoni Serevi and Vilimone Rokomurimuri rallied to post a 2-1 (18-21, 21-16, 15-10) win over Enoch Sovala and Filo Faletasi.

Sovala and Falestasi had opportunities to force a third match in the confrontation as the pair had a 16-15 lead in the second set before losing 21-16. In the third-and-deciding set, Serevi and Rokomurimuri, jumped to an 8-2 lead before the Samoans rallied to trail 11-9. The Fiji pair closed out the win by scoring six of the last seven points of the match.

“We settled down in the second set and adjusted to the wind and the sand,” said 6-foot 5 (195 cm) Rokomurimuri, who had at least eight blocks in the match. “Credit the Samoans for battling to the end.  The scoring runs at the end of the second and third sets were the key.”

The 29-year-old Fisher noted that “getting use to the sand” was a key.  “We play in hard-packed sand conditions in Fiji. The sand here gives a lot and is a lot deeper. Now, we play host New Zealand tomorrow, so getting use to the sand and the wind was important today.

The Oceania Continental Cup action ends Thursday with the medal matches starting with the women at 9 a.m. and the men in the afternoon with the first serve at 1 p.m.

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