So what separated Vanuatu from the gold medal? Two losses to Fiji, the exact team the girls beat in the semi at the Oceania champs in January. Firstly Vanuatu lost in 3 sets in the pool play round. Then came out 4 hours later and showed the spirit that has gotten Miller and Henriette this far in their career, demoralizing the New Caledonia team whom in patches showed a level of beach volleyball far above the rest of the competition.
"When the girls lost their fear of losing they played at a level that would have won them the Gold, unfortunately this fear crept in at the crucial moments" said Coach Larraine Busch. In the semi final versus Fiji the girls changed their game plan from the pool play round. At 1 set a piece the 3rd set was
all about how much confidence you have in your team and who was willing to step up and take charge of the game. Unfortunately Vanuatu's fear crept in and the gold medal hopes for SPG 2007 were lost.
The other semi-final saw Tahiti winning in 3 sets to New Caledonia. The New Caledonia's were distraught after the match and when they turned up to play for Bronze against Vanuatu they were still in the same mind set. This was a big advantage for Vanuatu as Miller and Henriette while disappointed they
didn't achieve their goal still knew their was a medal up for grabs for their
The first set was a walk over by Vanuatu and the second set looked like being the same until 16-8. Vanuatu needed 5 points to secure the bronze. At this stage New Caledonia showed they still had some fight left and took the second set displaying the type of play that would have won them the Gold. A race to 15 was on for the bronze. It was neck and neck, a time out was called and Coach Larraine Busch's advice was "if your scared of losing then you'll lose. The only way you will win this game is to go
out there and play like you have everything to gain, it's your choice" the girls
showed no fear this time and gave it all they had and out classed the New
Caledonia's from there on in winning 15-12.
"What this medal does for women's beach volleyball in Vanuatu only time will tell. After spending the last 6 months in Vanuatu I can tell you first hand as I compete on the International beach volleyball tour what will stop Vanuatu from being a force in this sport is Politics. Vanuatu women in this sport have natural ability; take Miller Elwin as an example. Miller (19yrs) left her island in the Banks that has only 3 cars, 4 phones and 'no' T.V for the very first time only 8 months ago, she now has a silver and bronze medal from international beach volleyball competitions", said Larraine Busch.
Support from local businesses has gotten the team this far. Team Vanuatu's major sponsor - ASCO Motors, First National Real Estate, Air Vanuatu, PKF and supporting sponsors - Pacific Suppliers, Goodies, Wilco, Lotus Beauty thank you for your support this medal is as much the girls as it is yours.
Last Modified on 21/10/2008 15:26