Diocese of Samoa Pago Pago's Summer Youth Volleyball League ends on high note

The volleyball teams representing Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Lauli’i took home top honors this past Saturday at the conclusion of the Summer Youth Volleyball League hosted by the Diocese of Samoa Pago Pago.


The games were held during a span of two weeks at the Diocese gymnasium on the compound of the former Marist Brothers High School campus in Malaeloa. Hundreds of local youth, church members, supporters, family and friends were in attendance throughout the games, which exposed a lot of local talent in a sport that — unlike football — doesn't often recruit local players to play at the collegiate level or even professionally.


A total of 72 teams participated in the program. All 18 parishes of the Diocese were represented by four teams each — girls and boys teams for the junior varsity level, and men’s and women's varsity teams for the older, more seasoned players. The parishes include Alao, Sailele, Laulii, Aua, Lepua, Pago Pago, Fagasa, Fagatogo, Nuuuli, Tafuna, Ili'ili, Futiga, Malaeloa, Vailoa, Leone, Afao, Asili, and Amanave.


The games, according to League Committee Chairman Rev. Father Asalemo Asalemo Jr., "were held to instill a sense of camaraderie amongst all the youth of the Roman Catholic faith, to keep them busy during the summer months while school is on break."


He said their goal was to offer something that would keep the youth busy during the summer months, so the chances of them wandering aimlessly on the streets, drinking alcohol, and experimenting with drugs will be slim. "We wanted something that would keep the kids busy and at the same time, bring them together to fellowship. Competitive games seemed like the perfect idea."


This year's league was the first time that each parish was able to enter their own teams. No games were held last year, but in the years prior to that, games were usually held with the Diocese being split up into different zones (Eastern, Western, Fagaloa, etc.) This meant all the parishes in each zone would play together on the same team. But that limited playing time for most, with some not seeing any minutes at all, as each zone included hundreds of youth members and only about a dozen people, at the most, were selected to play.


During last Saturday's final round, the excitement was there, with each team trying their best to claim the championship title in each of the four divisions. The venue was jam packed with spectators and supporters. At the end of the day, Lauli’i Parish took home top honors, claiming the championship title for the girls varsity division, second place for both the boys junior varsity and varsity divisions, and third place for the girls junior varsity division.


Fr. Asalemo explained that the results were based on a point scale that was established prior to the beginning of the league. All top seeded teams would get four points for their parish. Second place gets three points, third place gets two points, and fourth place receives one point. Lauli’i was the only parish that had all four of its teams advancing to the top four bracket for each division.


Based on the results of the games, Laulii placed first with a total of 12 points overall. Aua Parish was a close second with a total of 11 points and Amanave Parish came in third place with a total of eight points.


The official results of the games are as follows:




1. Amanave


2. Aua


3. Laulii


4. Malaeloa




1. Laulii


2. Lepua


3. Ili'ili


4. Leone




1. Aua


2. Laulii


3. Amanave


4. Afao




1. Aua


2. Laulii


3. Amanave


4. Pago Pago


With the results of the volleyball games now in the history books, Fr. Asalemo said the next set of planned activities will include basketball games scheduled to tip off today. The games will go on for the next two weeks at the Diocese gymnasium in Malaeloa. As with the volleyball league, each of the 18 parishes will enter four teams and the same format as far as the points system will be used.


Fr. Asalemo said they were hoping to host summer leagues for soccer as well as track and field, but there has been a change of plans, as the Diocese needs to prepare for its final farewell on August 3 to longtime leader Most Rev. Bishop Vaopunimatagi John Quinn Weitzel, who has announced his retirement.


Special awards for "Most Valuable Player" and other recognitions for both the volleyball and basketball summer leagues will be made at the conclusion of the basketball games.


Everyone is invited to come out to the Diocese gymnasium during the next two weeks to catch some great basketball action as the different parishes go at it in an effort to claim the championship trophy and not to mention, bragging rights.

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