It’s Tuks and UJ in the 2023 Varsity Netball final
All the action will be in Pretoria next week when UP-Tuks meet UJ in the final of the 2023 Varsity Netball tournament.
Tuks cemented their status as the team to beat this year when they defeated defending champions Maties in the first semifinal. In the second semifinal UJ walked away victors following their clash against NWU.
UP-TUKS 61-33 MATIES
Two-time champions (2017, 2019) UP-Tuks cruised into the final for the sixth time since the competition started in 2013 after they thumped Maties 61-33 at the Rembrandt Hall in Pretoria.
Jenny Van Dyk’s team took to field against the defending champions on a quest to prove that their emphatic win in the round robin stages was not a fluke. The home side, who remains unbeaten this year, dominated the early exchanges with minimal errors and clinical execution which saw them securing a 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter (16-6).
The relentless Stripe Generation continued their strident form in the second quarter. The Maroon Machine had chances to reduce the deficit during the power play. Their efforts however did not materialise as they managed to only add two points during this period of play. This left Tuks with a comfortable 26-12 lead at the halftime break.
A fair restart from the break saw Maties getting back-to-back goals after their struggles in the first two quarters. But the combination of Alice Kennon and Milla Coetzee in the Tuks goal circle kept the home side one step ahead. Tuks made use of the last power play, netting six goals to secure a 28-point victory.
QUARTER SCORES: 16-6 / 26-12 / 41-22 / 61-33
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: KAMOGELO MASEKO (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.
Maties: Lisa Ingwersen, Rochelle Maree, Chrisley Marshall, Renezia Andrews, Nerine Koopman, Danielle van Nieuwenhuizen, Entle Futshane, Miriam Ndjadi, Syntiche Kabuya, Zané Bodenstein, Hannah Olivier, Thabisa Yekani
UJ 54-38 NWU
UJ caused a major upset when they advanced to the final for the first time after beating former champions NWU (2015, 2016) 54-38 in the second semifinal, also at the Rembrandt Hall.
The first quarter saw UJ looking unfazed not having all their fans in the arena, scoring points at free will. NWU struggled with the combinations UJ were able to put together and looked a little off the pace. This saw the Orange Army finish of a dream opening 15 minutes to lead 15-8.
The second quarter saw a bit more urgency by the Eagles who were trying to try find a way back in the game. UJ’s Muhluri Hlatshwayo was once again on top of her game, combining well with her teammates. When the halftime whistle sounded, UJ were still in front, 29-20.
The third quarter saw quite a defensive display. NWU tried to cut the deficit, but UJ looked resolute in defence. NWU were only able to add a further four goals to their tally while UJ powered on (38-24).
The last 15 minutes of the match saw both teams go toe-to-toe, with UJ doing well to maintain their lead, keeping NWU at bay. Both power plays came into effect inside the last four minutes of the game, with NWU calling for theirs first. UJ’s power play then immediately kicked in and the Orange Army managed to clinch a stunning 54-38 victory.
QUARTER SCORES: 15-8 / 29-20 / 38-24 / 54-38
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: CORNELIA MUPENDA (UJ)
UJ: Muhluri Hlatshwayo, Henlize Basson, Zene de Waal, Zanell Blignaut, Owethu Ngubane, Londeka Buthelezi, Boitumelo Mahloko, Sanelisiwe Ntobela, Yanke Broodryk, Adivhaho Tshivhiahuvhi, Cornelia Mupenda, Mukhatshelwa Tshisikhawe.
NWU: Elmeré van der Berg, Sunel Smit, Caitlin du Plessis, Jade Egwatu, Jomari Lübbe, Johanné Meyer, Tlotlang Mokomela, Michelle Geduld, K