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Teamwork makes the dream work

In their first international competition, the Sassy Sisters of American Samoa made it all the way to the championship game in the Queens Division of the 2017 Teuila Volleyball Tournament which was held in Apia, Samoa last week. See story for full details.  [photo: courtesy]

While they weren't able to bring home the gold from the 2017 Teuila Volleyball Tournament held last week in Apia, Samoa, members of the Sassy Sisters Volleyball Club have no reason to hang their heads.

After all, the newly established team was participating in their first ever international competition and their lone loss was at the hands of their older sisters and mentors - The Originals - who won the championship trophy for the second year in a row.

The Sassy Sisters is led by president Jayleen Chun who told Samoa News that the trip was memorable and although they didn't win the title, "We did great and I felt that we won too!"

The Originals, the only other local team besides the Sassy Sisters who played in last week's tournament, handed the Sassy Sisters their only loss after narrowly defeating the younger divas in two straight sets 15-14; 15-14.

The Sassy Sisters was coached by Josie Afu Muasau and members include secretary Valentana Faumuina, team captain Arykah Fonoti, and players Runi Talaifaga, Uni Va'atausili Medici Tanielu, Gogo Hope Sakaria, Lima Schwenke, and Cece Siale Iavai.

"Congrats to our Originals Sisters for taking the title again, you all deserved it," Chun said, adding that "it was great to see and play with all our other fa'afafine sister teams from Samoa and New Zealand."

Playing in the Queens Division of the 2017 Teuila Volleyball Tournament was the Sassy Sisters' inaugural debut as a team and they were one of eight other fa'afafine teams who competed in the tournament, which coincided with the annual Samoa Fa'afafine Pageant that brought many other fa'afafines to Apia, including a delegation from the Society of Fa'afafine in American Samoa (SOFIAS) - who came out to support the Queens Division of the tourney.

The Sassy Sisters Volleyball Club, according to Chun, was established earlier this year by individuals who came together to form the team - all with a common interest in supporting the sport of volleyball, and the fellowship of fa'afafine sisterhood.

Coach Josie Afu provided weekly training and workshops for the new team to work on improving their basic skills and team dynamics, in preparation for the Teuila Tournament

During the tournament, the SSVC went undefeated in their pool which included three other teams.

They didn't drop a single set in match-ups against the Vaiula Girls, Stars of Samoa, and the New Zealand Divas.

In the quarterfinals, Team Sassy won two straight sets against the Vailele Shakers, and another two straight against the Stars of Samoa in the semi-finals.

In the championship game, the Sassy Sisters faced the only other fa'afafine team from American Samoa, The Originals, who are like sisters to the SSVC and practice together weekly, according to Chun.

Despite falling short of capturing the title, Chun said the team is content with their performance.

"Reaching the championship game was a far-fetched goal for the team but with hard work and diligent preparations, the SSVC was able to reach it," she said. "The camaraderie of the Queens Division was at an all-time high with so many teams participating and the experience was a 'once in a lifetime' one for this new team."

The SSVC is grateful to all the family, friends, and supporters who donated and helped fund the team's travel and uniforms during the various fundraisers held prior to the trip.

"We hope and pray for continued support as we will continue to play in local tournaments and plan to attend the Independence Day and Teuila Tournament in Apia next year," Chun concluded.

Congratulations Sassy Sisters and The Originals!