Port Vila, Vanuatu, December 13, 2017 – Hot favourites and top seeds Loti Joe/Linline Matauatu from Vanuatu stretched invincibility at the 2017 Pacific Mini Games beach volleyball competition at the Korman Beach Stadium on Wednesday after thrashing Solomon Islands’ Gwali/U’Una 21-4 21-13 in just 24 minutes.
Matauatu, a veteran of 33 FIVB World Tour events who earned a fourth-place finish with Miller Pata in Fortaleza, Brazil last year and was voted the 2015 Most Improved Player on the FIVB World Tour, teamed up with Joe to claim three wins in a row in this five-day competition including the straight-set win over Gwali/U’Una on Wednesday.
Despite the victory over the Solomon Islands’ rivals, Matauatu and young star Joe are trailing in second place in the women’s Pool A with a combined 6 points from 3 wins against no loss. Gwali/U’Una, who recovered to beat Mampasse/Qazing from New Caledonia 21-11 21-13 in their second match later on Wednesday, are taking the lead in Pool A with 7 points from 3 wins against one loss.
The Vanuatu’s duo are due to next take on Tuvalu’s Peter/Taimanuga in their last pool round-robin preliminary match on Thursday.
In the other matches, Mampasse/Qazing struggled to beat Tufele/Tiale from Wallis and Futuna in a hard-fought three-setter 21-7 18-21 15-7 in 35 minutes, Guam’s Byrd/Sablan also faced the same situation as they were forced to compete in three sets in beating Kiribati’s Taakam/Batio 21-14 18-21 15-5 in gruelling 40 minutes, their first win in the tournament, and Tufele/Tiale came from behind to beat Peter/Taimanuga 18-21 21-15 15-12.
Fijian second seeds Nima/Ratudina are due to play third seeds Bae/Walo from Papua New Guinea on Thursday to decide the Pool B winners.Both Fiji and Papua New Guinea similarly scored 4 points from 2 wins against no loss, but the former lead the charge with better points ratio.
The women’s semi-finals will be held later on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Papua New Guinea, Fiji and hosts Vanuatu continued their winning streak in the men’s division to capture the pole position in respective Pool A, B and C.
On Wednesday, top seeds Mea/Kilarupa from Papua New Guinea snatched their third win in the tournament after overwhelming Nuopule/Waneasi from Solomon Islands 21-10 21-16 in 27 minutes to maintain their top spot in Pool A.
Fijians Korowale/Elliot, who secured a berth to test their mettle in the next April’s Commonwealth Games in Australia after winning the Oceania Qualifiers last week, also registered their third win after outclassing Anro/Manuera from Kiribati 21-19 21-12 to top Pool B.
Pool C leaders Maki/Mael from Vanuatu had already won two matches and are due to be pitted against Tuvalu’s Ata/Saaga on Thursday.
Elsewhere, Faireka/D.Heath from Cook Islands produced a comeback 2-1 (19-21 21-16 15-8) win over Taro/Dwight from Palau, Tonga/Tonga from Tonga powered past Ata/Saaga in close battle 21-15 15-21 15-11 in exhausting 43 minutes and Samoa’s Tui/Lesoa crushed Iwane/Angexetine from New Caledonia 21-14 21-10.
With a temperature of 31 degrees Celsius and humidity at 75%, the Pacific Mini Games competition continues on Thursday as beach spikers from 13 nations battle against the heat and one another towards the finals at the end of the week.
Related links of AVC
AVC Website: click www.asianvolleyball.net
AVC Facebook: click www.Facebook.com/AsianVolleyballConfederation
AVC Twitter: click: https://twitter.com/avcvolley
AVC Instagram: click: https://www.instagram.com/avcvolley/?hl=en
AVC Youtube: click: Asian Volleyball Confederation