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Team Amerika Samoa Girls Volleyball Team is focused on winning a Championship

The Amerika Samoa Girls Volleyball All-Star Team — led by Head Coach Lydia Faleafine Nomura (far left) and Assistant Coach Lalomilo Mano (far right) — departed the territory for Hawai’i last Wednesday for their second appearance at the JPS Paradise Classic III.  The team's first game is set for Thursday, Jan. 11. [photo: TG]Ana of the Amerika Samoa Girls All-Star Volleyball Team sending off a serve during a practice session held at the Tafuna HS gymnasium, as part of preparations for the JPS Paradise Classic III in the Aloha State.  [photo: TG]Team Amerika Samoa's Girls All-Star Volleyball squad during a practice session held at the Tafuna High School gymnasium in preparation for the Junior Prep Sports (JPS) Paradise Classic III set to be held in Honolulu this week.  [photo: TG]
They’re also hoping to draw the attention of college coaches and recruiters

The American Samoa High School Athletics Association (ASHSAA) Girls All-Star Volleyball Team – Team Amerika Samoa - departed the territory last Wednesday for its second appearance in the Junior Prep Sports (JPS) Paradise Classic III in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Coverage is sponsored by Congresswoman Aumua Amata.

Leading Team Amerika Samoa is Head Coach Lydia Faleafine Nomura, who also led our girls all-star team last year to the Classic.  She was selected out of Tafuna High School.

Assisting her on the trip as Assistant Coach is Faga’itua High School’s Head Volleyball Coach, Lalomilo Mano.

Faleafine Nomura and the team of 11 All-Star players are scheduled to scrimmage against other all-star teams from Hawai’i, California, and Las Vegas, Nevada prior to their official match-ups set to start tomorrow.

Team Amerika Samoa is composed of high school players representing Tafuna, Leone, Samoana, and Pacific Horizons.

Tomorrow, they will take part in a 12-team tournament scheduled for 6 p.m. in Kaneohe. The winner of the pool determines the competitors for the Silver and Gold brackets that will be held on Friday, again at Kaneohe.

Regarding the selection of the players for the JPS Paradise Classic III, Faleafine Nomura said, “Each varsity head coach was given a chance to select their best players for the tryouts. There were about three to five players from each high school – 12 were selected: 4 seniors, 7 juniors, and 1 freshman.”

According to the head coach, out of the 12 all-star players that were selected, one was unable to make it due to her father being ill.

She said tryouts were held the week after the ASHSAA Girls Volleyball Season – and by the third week of November, a dozen girls were selected.

"We’ve come a long way in preparations. It’s somewhat difficult coaching players from other schools because all coaches [have] … their own way of coaching. While there is a lot of talent, there is a definite lack of fundamentals. For the first three weeks we had to focus on the basics and fundamentals which takes up so much time – we’ve come a long way because the girls have worked extremely hard,” she said.

When asked about some of the changes made to this year's all-star team compared to last year’s squad, she told Samoa News, “There are a lot more talented underclassmen. Also this year, all players have worked hard on skills and conditioning.”

She added, “The players this year are in much better shape, much more passionate, and more focused. They have also showed their eagerness to learn and better their skills.

“The one thing they lack is experience with outside competition. Three players have that experience and you can see the notable difference in their game. Hopefully, for the underclassmen, this experience will help them compete again next year.”

Samoa News asked the Head Coach about their focus going into the JPS Paradise Classic III, “Of course the focus is to win a championship. Last year we made it to the championship game in the Silver Division and took second. We hope to make it to the Gold Division and win it!”

Faleafine Nomura added, “We also hope to get our girls noticed by any coaches who may attend the tournament.”

Based on their experience last year, Faleafine Nomura told Samoa News they have a good chance of winning.

"The girls however need to play with passion and heart. They need to want it.”

The head coach thanks everyone who supported them in their preparations leading up to the JPS Paradise Classic III. “I would like to thank Honorable Governor Lolo and Lt. Governor Lemanu, the principals, all the varsity volleyball coaches, the parents, families, and friends. I would especially like to thank the players for all their hard work and patience.”

Good luck Team Amerika Samoa!