Tahiti & Papua New Guinea take gold at Pacific Mini Games
Wallis Island, Wallis and Futuna, September 13, 2013 – Long-time women’s champions Tahiti have taken the gold medal while Papua New Guinea took the men’s crown in Wednesday’s finals of the 2013 Pacific Mini Games Volleyball tournament.
The finals Wednesday saw the Tahiti Women’s team continue their reign as the Pacific Women’s Champions gaining an emphatic straight sets win over New Caledonia in 3-0 (26-24, 25-7, 25-14). New Caledonia came out of the blocks with their strong attack, trading point for point until the middle of the first set when New Caledonia won a series of points to lead 18-10. At this point the momentum changed and the Tahiti women lifted their game with a series of winning serves from Valeria Vaki, to tie the score at 23-23 and then pull ahead to win the important points to take the set 26-24.
The second set brought the Tahiti players even more to the forefront of the game as their players contributed to a comfortable 25-7 win. New Caledonia started the third set by winning valuable points to lead early at 8-7. With an all-round dominant game, Tahiti marched on to take the set 25-14 and the match, continuing their reign as the Pacific Champions.
Tahiti’s Louisa Vero and Ramatarii Temarii were valuable contributors, with Temarii having taken over setting duties only one month prior to the Games, when the former setter had to withdraw with a damaged knee. Romana Ariioehau and Germaine Manmieu of New Caledonia also showed their volleyball prowess during the tournament.
The men’s final saw an epic match between the current champions, Papua New Guinea and home crowd favourites, Wallis and Futuna. In pool play Papua New Guinea won a tight match 3-1, but in the final Wallis and Futuna started strongly taking the first set 25-14 with their strong attacks and blocks. The second set was a real battle with the teams trading point for point reaching 20-20 and then 24-24, before Papua New Guinea took the set 28-26. Set three went to Wallis and Futuna with a score of 25-20 before Papua New Guinea came back to take set four at 25-19.
The deciding set saw Papua New Guinea finally get their block working to take an 8-4 lead, finishing the set in style with a 15-11 win to become the 2013 Pacific Mini Games Champions. The pressure will now be on for Papua New Guinea to retain the title when they host the 2015 Pacific Games.
Papua New Guinea’s captain Ravuiwa Rau and libero Jeffrey Gima had strong games in an all-round team effort, while for Wallis and Futuna their setter Boris Takaniko did a great job along with their captain Vitali Tupou who was strong on both defense and attack.
Earlier in the day Fiji’s women won the bronze medal match against Papua New Guinea while in the men’s tournament, New Caledonia proved to be too strong for Tuvalu taking the men’s bronze medal.