Women's beach volleyball team lose first match
The Samoa women's beach volleyball team hit a setback a few days before the first match.
Key player Sunema Moto'otua withdrew last minute due to health reasons, consequently a new partnership had to be formed just two days out from competition. Emalini Toleafoa stepped in to replace Motootua and played alongside Tumua Uelese.
The team played their first match against the Marshall Islands and lost.
The 25-year-old Uelese said the game was good overall, even though it was not the result they wanted.
"With all the changes and that, we still managed to pull through.
"My original partner pulled out due to some health stuff so Emma thankfully agreed to step in, she just got in couple of days ago so we just did a few touch ups on Saturday," she told Samoa Observer.
Despite the loss, Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (F.I.V.B.) Development Program Mentor Coach, Aaron Alsop said the coaches are proud of the girls' efforts.
"With the new combination coming in, with Emma coming from the indoor program to help out, we just sort of want them to continue to grow their confidence and skills.
"They trust the system and the way they’re playing and I guess the added pressure of playing at home can be a positive if your approach it that way," he said.
Alsop is confident the girls will bounce back for the next game and improve as they move forward.
The women are now scheduled to play against Papua New Guinea or Palau, depending on who wins, and they are looking forward to a tough challenge from both teams.
Uelese said both teams are strong and are previous gold medalists with a lot of experience.
"They’re going to be hard, our next opponent depends on who wins or loses here and play tomorrow," she said. "But both teams are strong, both P.N.G. and Palau are very strong teams, gold medalists from both sides and very experienced, so we’re expecting a tough fight."
"So going to go back, review, set and see what we can do right for tomorrow. Now that all our nerves our out, first games are always with nerves, now it’s out, we’re going to be more focused and make sure we go for our every single ball."
Samoa is in Pool C with Marshall Islands, P.N.G. and Palau.