By Joyce Mark-Sabbath, Michelle Jerewai, Natalie Cholohei and Ingrid Consnier, Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 18 – American Samoa bagged women’s volleyball gold and Wallis and Futuna took the men’s title as sport at the Port Moresby 2015 Pacific Games drew to a close at the BSP Arena on Saturday.
The American Samoan team won a tight match against Tahiti 3-2 (25-23, 23-25, 19-25, 25-19, 17-15) before Wallis and Futuna came from behind to beat New Caledonia 3-1 (20-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-18).
“We didn’t think we were going to win this match. I watched the Tahiti team playing and they’re getting better and better throughout the tournament,” said American Samoa coach Keli Pula (ASA).
American Samoa started strongly and won a close first set 25-23, but Tahiti applied the pressure in the second set to win 25-23.
A sizeable Tahiti-supporting contingent in the crowd boosted the team to win the third set 25-19. American Samoa responded to the challenge and won the fourth set by the same scoreline.
The sides continued to trade blows but American Samoa came out on top to win the deciding set 17-15 and seal gold.
New Caledonia comfortably beat Papua New Guinea in the women’s bronze medal match, triumphing in four sets 25-18, 25-21, 24-26, 25-19.
The men’s gold medal match was not as close as the women’s, despite the sides being tied at 1-1 after the opening two sets.
It was New Caledonia that struck first, winning 25-20, but Wallis and Futuna took ownership of the second set to win by the same scoreline.
Defensive specialist Valu Tupou (WLF) was particularly impressive as his side narrowly won the third set 25-23, before closing out the match in style with a 25-18 win.
Tahiti’s height advantage saw them easily see off PNG in the men’s bronze medal match with a straight sets (25-22, 25-16, 25-23) victory.