Maties will get another crack at winning their first Varsity Netball title at home in Stellenbosch when they take on NWU in the 2022 final next week. It will be the Eagles’ fifth appearance in a final, they beat Maties in 2015 and scored a close victory over Tuks a year later to win their second successive title.
While NWU already has two Varsity Netball titles, Maties are still looking for their first crown. As Maties coach Zanele Mdodana says “We just have to make sure to tick all the boxes next week.”
Experience comes out tops as Maties beat UJ
They left it till late in the fourth quarter, but for the second year running Maties have made it to the final of the Varsity Netball tournament as the only undefeated team after a hard-fought 43-35 victory over UJ in Stellenbosch.
The Maroon Machine had to fight through four of the tightest quarters in this year’s competition, going into the half-time break two points behind the Orange Army who made their first appearance in the semi-finals of Varsity Netball.
Sian Moore of Maties celebrates with teammates during the 2022 Varsity Netball Semi Final between Maties and UJ at the Coetzenburg Indoor Centre, Stellenbosch, SOUTH AFRICA
Maties called their power play with 12 minutes to go, managing to grab a couple of goals and edge ahead ever so steadily. The UJ bench was out of their seats with a few close calls by the umpires going against them with even the normally cool, calm and collected Bongi Msomi not able to hide her frustration.
In the end, it was experience that trumped youthful exuberance. Take nothing away though from what Msomi has managed to achieve at UJ in just a couple of years.
Danielle van Nieuwenhuizen (Maties): “I just had to adapt to whatever position the coaches wanted me to play in. It was blood, sweat and tears but we did it!”
Quarter scores: 9-8| 16-18 | 25-25 | 43-35
Player of the match: Danielle van Nieuwenhuizen (Maties)
NWU edge out defending champions Kovsies
After last week’s narrow loss in the last round-robin match at the same venue and against the same opponents, NWU is now through to their fifth Varsity Netball final after beating defending champions Kovsies 64-61 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd.
Warmups and prematch photos of the the Semi-Final of the Varsity Netball between the FNB UFS Kovsies and FNB NWU at Callie Human Hall in Bloemfontein. 10 October 2022, Asem Engage – Hannes Naude
Kovsies outplayed and outscored NWU for most of the match, thanks to the brilliant play of Rolene Streutker in the goal circle. She outwitted her defenders and sank goal after goal, and was deservedly named player of the match.
The Eagles turned the Kovsies-tide in the all-important championship quarter (third quarter) and even though they were still three goals behind on the scoreboard, they could sense it wasn’t over by a long shot.
And those shots belonged to Elmere van den Bergh. Switching from goal attack to goal shooter, the Protea star kept the scoreboard ticking over for NWU and edged her team ahead for the first time in the match with 10 minutes left on the clock. The change in pace from NWU caught Kovsies off guard and they stumbled at the last hurdle.
Elsunet du Plessis (NWU coach): “It was an amazing game and I’m very proud of my players. Elmere played such a solid game in the circle tonight and that made the difference. We are just going to enjoy tonight and tomorrow we’ll start refocusing again.”
Quarter scores: 14-15| 25-29 | 42-45 | 64-61
Player of the match: Rolene Streutker(Kovsies)