UVU volleyball set for humanitarian-focused tour of New Zealand, Samoa

Head coach Sam Atoa

May 5, 2014

Fans can follow the team's trip to New Zealand and Samoa by visiting uvuvolleyball.blogspot.com or also on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

OREM, Utah -The Utah Valle University volleyball team will depart on an international tour to New Zealand and Samoa this week that will span 17 days and will focus primarily on humanitarian aid.

"We're looking forward to the trip," said head coach Sam Atoa. "All of the girls have worked hard to help fundraise and they've also committed some of their own money as well as time and energy to help put this whole thing together. But as they go through this experience they'll realize why they had to do the things necessary to prepare for the trip.

"Our hope is as we go through these experiences and are engaged in the trip that somehow it will touch their lives and that they'll be able to recognize what they are capable of being able to do. We get so busy that we forget what's important in life sometimes. I hope that these ladies will realize the importance of service and truly enjoy the trip."

The Wolverines will leave the United States May 6 and are set to return on May 22.

The UVU volleyball squad will spend the first part of the trip in New Zealand, where Christchurch, New Zealand, native and new assistant coach Daniel Jones will direct the group for the first week (May 6-13). The Wolverines will play a couple of exhibition matches during their time in New Zealand.

"For us the trip will feature some volleyball as well as some humanitarian work, and the result that these girls will experience as a group will be that much stronger," said Jones. "It's not just about volleyball and it's not just about sightseeing, it's about how can we use the opportunities and influences that we'll experience down the road to help us come together as a team."



Coach Atoa, who hails from Samoa, will then take the team around his homeland for the second leg of the trip (May 13-21). The Wolverines will visit numerous schools, hospitals, elderly care centers and villages during their stay in Samoa. They also plan to distribute school supplies, books, computers, clothing, medical supplies, athletic equipment, and so on during visits. In April, the volleyball squad shipped a 40-foot container full of the charitable items to Samoa that the team will deliver during its stops.

This year's trip will mark the third time that Atoa has taken his team to his native country as well as New Zealand, as he previously took his volleyball teams on similar trips in 2006 and 2010.

For updates throughout the expedition, including daily journal entries from the student-athletes, please visit uvuvolleyball.blogspot.com.