Skip to main content

13 November, 2023


Vanuatu Volleyball’s first outing of a busy upcoming competition campaign to end the year, got off to a flying start over the weekend in Queensland, with both National Women’s representative teams successfully taking on a variety of Australian opposition in the Volleyball Queensland Beach Tour Round 5 event at Sandstorm BV in Brisbane.

Both teams were so successful over the Pool rounds and the early finals, that their only opposition at the end of the tournament was each other.


As the #1 seeds for the tournament, Sherysyn Toko and Majabelle Lawac started their run to the final with three strong matches in Pool A on Saturday, taking each one 2 sets to nil:

Team Vanuatu 1 def De Innocentiis/Geddes 21-7, 21-11;

Team Vanuatu 1 def Rowe/Graham 21-6, 21-13;

Team Vanuatu 1 def Goronczy/Rieloff Malgarezzi 21-15, 21-10.

Linline Matauatu and Loti Joe, seeded as the #10 pair, similarly saw off three opposition teams, each in straight sets, in their Pool B matches:

Team Vanuatu 2 def Soderberg/Rayner 21-19, 21-10;

Team Vanuatu 2 def Hansen/Marshall 21-12, 21-9;

Team Vanuatu 2 def Meale/Dupuis 21-16, 21-8.


Undefeated, the two teams worked their way through the early finals matches.


QF1 – Toko/Lawac def Soderberg/Rayner (21-14, 21-15)

QF4 – Matauatu/Joe def De Innocentiis/Geddes (21-8, 21-13)


SF1 – Toko/Lawac def Convey/Rasmussen (21-13, 21-6)

SF2 – Matauatu/Joe def Scotney/Jankovic (21-12, 21-12)

And so, both teams arrived at the Final undefeated through the tournament, only to have to face each other; a very proud and telling moment for VVF, underlining the hard work that goes into the elite volleyball program.

These four players know each other’s games very well, having spent time training and playing together with Vanuatu Volleyball over the years; not to mention being under the same coach this weekend, with longtime VVF friend and part-time Australia-based coach Shanon Zunker overseeing their performance.

Across three hard fought sets, these two teams tested each other and themselves. In the end it was Lin and Loti who lasted the distance, taking the third and final set 15-9, after a 26-28 loss of the 1st set, was followed up with a 21-13 fightback in the 2nd set.

The interesting side story here is that both Lin and Loti have been training hard on a daily basis at their current home base of Stanthorpe in Queensland, where both women are working for I Comply Labour services, and with the strong support of the company’s CEO Rod Prestia, are being enabled to still compete for Vanuatu when possible. It is proving to be a productive and valuable relationship for VVF, retaining player talent while allowing the practical necessities of life for some Pacific islanders to be met.

Loti’s own story with Rod and IComply was a feature 12 months ago when she first travelled to regional Queensland to do farm work. In recent months she returned for another stint, being joined by VVF veteran player and 2018 Comm Games bronze medallist Lin Matauatu, which only served to make the smile on Rod’s face wider, given the consequent strengthening of his farm beach volleyball workers’ team.

Still To Come

This all bodes well for the weeks ahead with Lin and Loti heading south to Victoria to compete in the FIVB Futures event in Geelong, from 22-26 November, while Tini and Bella will be flying to Thailand for a World Beach Pro Tour Challenge event which starts on Thursday (16 – 19 Nov), ahead of going to Honiara for the Sols2023 Pacific Games (19 Dec – 02 Dec), where they will being aiming to defend the team’s 2019 Gold medal.

The Vanuatu National Women’s BV team has a strong history of success at the Pacific Games, having won Gold in Noumea in 2011, Silver in Port Moresby in 2015 and just 4 years ago, another Gold in Apia, at the Samoa 2019 Games. That 2019 PG gold medal was the second for veteran Miller Pata (2011), but the first for Sherysyn Toko. This time, it is Tini who will be striving to get a second gold medal to add to her expanding trophy cabinet, having also won a first bronze medal last year at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in the UK.