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ASVBA hosts the first Pacific Cup Volleyball Challenge tournament on island

This upcoming Monday will feature the first Pacific Cup Volleyball Challenge tournament hosted by the American Samoa Volleyball Association (ASVBA) and its president, Pio Gaisoa, and will include some of the best volleyball teams from around the Pacific region.

All games are scheduled to be played at the Tafuna High School (THS) gymnasium.

 Australia’s women’s team has been practicing at the THS gymnasium since they arrived on Sunday. On Wednesday, teams from Samoa and Tonga arrived on the Lady Naomi to participate in this inaugural volleyball tourney — officially opening next Monday.

In an interview with Samoa News, ASVBA Secretary Josie Afu said, “We are very excited to be hosting this first ever tournament on island. We have confirmation on the girls division, as the teams from Australia, Samoa, and Tonga, will be facing various volleyball clubs that we have on island.”

According to Afu, “this tournament was put together by none other than our President Gaisoa, who has been keeping in touch with the volleyball presidents from Samoa and Tonga, to try and make it an annual event, as this is also special for us coordinating this right into Flag Day week, which will make this year’s Flag Day festivities more exciting and busy.”

Afu told Samoa News that this first “Pacific Cup” comprises four divisions, “the first division is called the Women’s Open, which is extended out to all ages, like we have now the Women’s team from Brisbane Australia, and their team consists of players from ages 17 to 39. The various local women’s volleyball clubs on island that will also be competing have ages ranging from 14 up to 45.

“The next division is called the Under 19, which consists of players age 19 and under, and two of Samoa’s team will face six of our under 19 clubs here on island.

“One other division, the biggest… is the Men’s Open Division, which is regulated similarly to the Women’s Open.

“The last division we have added into this year’s Pacific Cup tournament, is the Queens Division, which consists only of “Fa’afafine teams”, and already in the mix is Samoa’s All Star team, who have already arrived on island. They will be facing our local East and West Fa’afafine All Star teams. As of now, Samoa is still the Champions of the Queens Division, after defeating our local team last year — and this year, they are here again to defend their title.”

Off the schedule for the Pacific Cup, according to Afu, “the tournament has already been scheduled to be a three-day event, and we will kick things off starting Monday evening with the opening ceremony, heading onto Tuesday the whole day, and we will finish off on Wednesday, April 18th with the Awards Ceremony — the giving out of prizes.”

He told Samoa News, “the goal of this tournament is to bring in island teams from around the Pacific Ring, which includes Australia, Tonga, Samoa, Wallace, Fiji, New Caledonia, Nauru, and many other Pacific islands, so that our local players on island, can experience and witness what it feels like to play against teams from other islands; so that when our South Pacific Games comes around, our local teams will have experience and knowledge on how to compete against other Pacific islands.

“I know some of the people here call the Australian team, Aussies, but no, they are all Samoan girls who are staying in Australia, and have come all the way here to support our invitation and to participate in this year’s Flag Day festivities.”

In conclusion, Afu said they wanted to extend their warm gratitude and thanks to all of those who have supported and continue to support this effort, which is now finally coming to life.

“The big thanks goes out to the people of our island, and the leaders of our island. Thanks to Honorable Governor Togiola and First Lady Mary Ann for supporting the sport of volleyball every year. We would also like to extend our thanks to all the representatives on island for their strong support. We would also like to give a big thanks and fa’amalo to Frank Gaisoa of TMO for his never ending support for us every single year.”