NWU and Kovsies have both had the Varsity Netball trophy in their trophy case twice.
But NWU gained a psychological advantage this past Monday night when they edged the Free State team 48-44 in Bloemfontein in the last league encounter. It was described as a dress rehearsal for the semi-final.
With that victory, NWU managed to go through the campaign unbeaten – the first time that has happened.
The two teams have met eight times in Varsity Netball history, with NWU slightly ahead with four victories. Kovsies have won three, and one encounter in 2014 ended in a draw.
The Free State students won the first two editions of Varsity Netball in 2013 and 2014, with NWU the champions in 2015 and 2016.
NWU beat Tuks in a thriller in last year’s final, 56-55. NWU and Tuks are the only teams to have reached the semi-finals every year.
Who will be crowned 2017 champions?
Tuks and Maties face each other in Monday’s first semi-final in Pretoria.
NWU and Kovsies will have to wait until 19:00 for their encounter.
The coaches, Dorette Badenhorst of NWU and Burta de Kock of Kovsies, know each other well.
Badenhorst, the South African Under-21 coach, might have the edge. It is her last season with NWU and she will definitely want to leave Potchefstroom on a high note.
It will also be the captain of NWU, Chanté Bester’s, last year at NWU.
Because NWU doesn’t have a home court, they have to travel for all their matches. They will thus not have home ground advantage, but all the travelling surely made them a tight-knit unit.
The Bloemfontein side might just have a surprise or two up their sleeves.
The Protea defender Karla Mostert (now Pretorius) was seen at Monday night’s game. Who knows? Perhaps she and her Protea team mate Maryke Holtzhausen, two former Kovsies, have helped the Bloemfontein team in their preparation this week.
Pretorius was the Player of the Tournament in 2014 and 2015.
The final is scheduled for 9 October.