It is UP-Tuks against defending champions Maties in Pretoria and NWU against UJ in Johannesburg next Monday in the semi-finals of the 2023 Varsity Netball championship.
Tuks finished top of the log after beating NWU in the last match of the third and final bumper weekend at the Maties Coetzenburg Indoor Centre in Stellenbosch. NWU occupied the second spot, UJ third and Maties fourth.
UP-TUKS 67-52 NWU
UP-Tuks finished the season as the only undefeated team when they beat NWU 67-52 in the last round-robin match.
The two sides had already qualified for the semi-final spots, with UJ and Maties joining them.
The first 15 minutes kept the spectators on the edge of their seats, with the tense and physical competition between the two log leaders. However, Tuks showed to be the better side to take a 20-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The match turned somewhat one-sided as it was approaching the half-time break with Tuks managing to hold onto ball possession, something NWU was failing to do.
Tuks goal shooter Alice Kennon was superb as she was successful with all her attempts and took her side to a comfortable half-time lead of 36-22.
With Proteas star Elmeré van der Berg introduced after the break, the Eagles goal scoring opportunities improved as they were playing a catch-up game.
However, Jenny van Dyk's charges were the better side between the two as they ran away with it in the third and fourth quarters and ultimately won the battle.
Quarter scores: 20-11/ 36-22 / 51-34/ 67-52
Player of the match: Alice Kennon (UP-Tuks)
UP-Tuks: Alice Kennon, Amber Marshall, Caroline Paul, Kamogelo Maseko, Kylie van Wyk, Luca Keun, Marichelle Visagie, Melissa van Zyl, Milla Coetzee, Nompha Raphalalani, Phophi Nematangari, Zionne Grobler.
NWU: Sunel Smit, Caitlin du Plessis, Jade Egwatu, Elmeré van der Berg, Jomari Lübbe, Tlotlang Mokomela, Michelle Geduld, Keke Molotsi, Favour Umeh, Sanmarie Visser, Rory Pringle, Martiné Jordaan.
UJ 70-40 UWC
UJ kicked off the second day of the last bumper weekend with a 70-40 victory over UWC.
The Johannesburg side were highly confident coming into the match following their qualification for the semi-final after their win over the Maties on Sunday. Bongiwe Msomi's charges are awaiting a winner between the two log leaders, UP-Tuks and NWU Eagles who will play later on Monday to see who they will face in the semi-finals.
The upfront combination of Protea goal attack Owethu Ngubane and goal shooter Muhluri Hlatshwayo saw the Orange Army overpower UWC's defence in the first two quarters. Their lead after the first 15 minutes was 18-13 and at halftime, it was 34-20.
UJ's physicality allowed them to close the spaces and intercept vital UWC balls during the third and fourth as the match became decidedly one-sided.
The Orange Army comfortably walked away with all the points, something their fans will enjoy the most. They are the only side who came to Stellenbosch with their loyal and dedicated fan base.
Quarter scores: 18-13 / 34-20 / 55-25 / 70-40
Player of the match: Henlize Basson (UJ)
UJ: Cornelia Mupenda, Boitumelo Mahloko, Yanke Broodryk, Mukhatshelwa Tshisikhaw, Adivhaho Tshivhiahuvhi, Zanell Blignaut, Sanelisiwe Ntobela, Londeka Buthelezi, Muhluri Hlatshwayo, Owethu Ngubane, Zene de Waal, Henlize Basson.
UWC: Nashitah Africa, Courtleigh Behr, Kaylynn-Joy Brand, Amber Coraizin, Renisha Daniels, Chane Engelbrecht, Shevonne Hoffman, Adri Kannemeyer, Ané Louw, Shani Pick, Liandré Schoeman, Kristin van der Ross.
MATIES 62-31 MADIBAZ
Maties showed strong character in front of their home crowd as they qualified for the semi-final following their 62-31 victory over Madibaz.
It was a crunch one for the defending champions who needed to beat the Eastern Cape side to qualify for the top four teams. With the three spots already booked, the pressure was mounting for the Cape Winelands outfit.
Stellenbosch fans came out in numbers for this clash to cheer for their side, but Madibaz were eager to spoil that party. The game saw pressure from the first minute as Madibaz goal shooter Kaylin Coetzee converted all her shots as the match went to the end of the first quarter with Maties leading by a single goal (11-10).
Maties then started slowing the game down and tried to disrupt Madibaz’s plans. Goal shooter Rochelle Maree put Maties in front, who went into the half-time interval at 23-18.
After the break, Maties picked up where they left off to keep the Madibaz attackers at bay, thanks to the strong physicality of goalkeeper Syntiche Kabuya who was massive in intercepting balls.
Maties kept up the strong fight to end the match as winners and qualify for the semi-finals.
Quarter scores: 11-10 / 23-18 / 46-24 / 62-31
Player of the match: Entle Futshane (Maties)
Maties: Lisa Ingwersen, Rochelle Maree, Chrisley Marshall, Renezia Andrews, Nerine Koopman, Kerrin de Nobrega, Danielle van Nieuwenhuizen, Entle Futshane, Miriam Ndjadi, Lize Rossouw, Syntiche Kabuya, Zané Bodenstein.
Madibaz: Kaylin Coetzer, Mothira Mohammad, Andrea van der Merwe, Juanita van Tonder, Siyamthanda Dingiswayo, Nosipho Dweba, Britney van der Merwe, Kelly du Toit, Jeannique Rossouw, Danielle Vermaak, Phakama Skosana, Bonique Solaan.
UFS-KOVSIES 59-24 WITS
UFS-Kovsies gave a strong fight to keep their slim semi-final qualification hopes alive after defeating Wits 59-24. The stubborn Kovsies had it easy yesterday against UWC while Wits were bossed around by UP-Tuks.
It was a rusty first quarter from both sides, with a lot of goal-scoring chances missed that could have changed the outcome as the quarter ended with Kovsies leading by 10-8.
Kovsies goal shooter Sheneca Smith who had contributed immensely to her side's win on Saturday missed countless crucial chances against Wits. The Johannesburg side did not sit down and watch but gave a strong fight during the second quarter as the match went to the interval with the Free State side leading 26-14.
Both sides did not create clear goal-scoring chances in the third and fourth quarters. Kovsies maintained and held onto their lead to walk away as victors as they gave themselves the slimmest of chances to stay in the campaign.
Quarter scores: 10-8 / 26-14 / 41-19/ 59-24
Player of the match: Sheneca Smith (UFS-Kovsies)
UFS-Kovsies: Ane Retief, Bianca Pienaar, Xandri Fourie, Buhle Kubheka, Charne van Vuuren, Demi-Leigh de Jager, Elri Groenewald, Liame de Lange, Reratilwe Letsoalo, Lethabo Sehlapelo, Sheneca Smith, Ruandi van Dyk.
WITS: Giada Prinsloo, Amy Horn, Sidney Coetzee, Kgotso Precious Montshiwa, Simoné van Reenen, Panashe Chiranga, Alix Horn, Kirsten Mileman, Nicola Wilson, Thandiwe Mokiti, Lerato Thobeha, Oreratile Lentsoane.
by Ayanda Frances Felem