AN exodus of senior players is the major setback for the Kinoya women's volleyball side as they prepare to defend their Vanua Challenge title this weekend.
The tournament starts today at the FMF Gymnasium and Kinoya is pooled with Raiwai, Topline 1 and Cuvu Yellow.
Kinoya Volleyball Association president Isoa Vorakitaki said their women's side would need to top their pool if they wanted to defend their title. He said even a loss in the pool stages could have a huge impact on their title defence hopes.
"Most of our senior players that helped us win last year are no longer with the side," Vorakitaki said.
"So we have brought in some new girls and we hope to defend our title using these girls."
He added the men's and women's teams were not able to prepare well because of continuous rain for the past two weeks.
"Since we don't have a hard court, we had to train on grass and some players did not turn up because of the rain. But we have prepared to some extent and we have made sacrifices for this tournament and we thank the Lord for giving us the strength and talent to come this far."
Vorakitaki said reaching the semi-finals of the Vanua Challenge would be a big achievement for any team.
"If we qualify for the semi-finals, we would be one of the four top teams in the country."