Hard work pays off for Auckland Diamonds

Auckland Diamonds, who took out the Vailima volleyball tournament title last Saturday, were not ready for the grand final according to the team’s captain.

The captain Glen Young-Yen told the Samoa Observer that his team was not 100 per cent ready to take on last year’s defending champions Fagali’i Volleyball club.

He said the team’s players were only assembled two weeks prior to the start of the tournament and they knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match.

"We knew when we made it to the final that it was not going to be an easy match against the reigning champs, especially because Fagali'i has been training and preparing longer than us," said Young-Yen.

"We had a lot of issues before we entered this year's tournament, one of them was not raising enough funds to rent a gym where we could train.”

Consequently, the team used one of the team member’s front yard to set up a volleyball court where they played and practiced their set plays.

In the first set of the Cup Final with Fagali'i the Auckland Diamonds did not have a good start as they could not cope with their rival’s jump serves, which saw them give up too many points resulting in the first set going Fagali'i 15-7.

However, Young-Yen said they were not troubled as there was another set and they were keen to turn things around.

"We weren't fazed at all when we lost that first set, I told my team that there was nothing to worry about and that there is still another set to play where hopefully we could turn things around and grab the momentum of the game.”

In the second set, the Diamonds looked like a whole different team as they fought hard to take the set from Fagali'i 15-13. 

The captain of the Diamonds scored many of his team's points, the Fagali'i blockers could not contain Young-Yen and his powerful spikes which also led to the scoring of the final point to win the set for his team.

The third and final set was a very close affair that went down to the wire as both teams went tit for tat and sent the set into a deuce after they were tied at game point 14-14. 

Fagali'i scored first with a powerful jump serve from their number 11, but the Diamonds captain replied with a perfectly executed pipe attack.

The Auckland Diamonds scored two consecutive points from two errors by the Fagali'i receivers and sealed the victory for the challengers.

"We knew we were the underdogs and no one really thought we'd stand much of a chance against Fagali'i, but we never stopped believing we could find a way to beat them," said Young-Yen.

"We want to thank all our supporters especially our heavenly Father for his blessings and giving us the win.”

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