One of the most intriguing battles this year on the netball court will resume on Monday when Tuks face the Maties on their home turf.
Stephanie Brandt, goal keeper of Maties, will resume her duel with Chanté Louw, promising goal shooter of Tuks. The battle between them is intense, with neither giving an inch.
Brandt is the South African under-21 goal keeper and is slightly more experienced than Louw. Brandt, a BEd student in her second year, played almost all the quarters for Maties and has been one of the Stellenbosch students’ pillars of strength.
Brandt (21) has great elevation and uses her height of 1,85 m and her long arms to great advantage.
She was twice awarded the FNB Player of the Match – against UJ and UWC.
Louw (19), a first year BA student, has been a revelation this year. She made a name for herself in the Brutal Fruit Premier league for the Jaguars, for Tuks at the USSA tournament, especially for Gauteng at the provincial championships and now for Tuks in the Varsity Netball series.
She doesn’t move out of the goal circle at lot, but prefers to stand her ground and keep her position underneath the goal post. This makes her very difficult to defend.
She is slightly taller than Brandt at 1,88 m.
Adéle Niemand, assistant coach of Maties, said Brandt has a promising career.
“She has a strong awareness of her space and reads the game beautifully. She is also very good at analysing her opponents. She controls the goal circle beautifully,” said Niemand.
Tuks got the better of the Stellenbosch students in two previous encounters this year.
The first was in July at the Ussa tournament in Potchefstroom. Tuks beat the Maties 59-48. Tuks finished fourth and the Maties fifth.
Then there was the exciting encounter earlier in September in the Varsity series, which initially ended in a draw, before the result was revised. After a scoring error, Tuks were awarded the victory with 37-36.
The Maties definitely want to settle that score, but it will be best to put that Sunday afternoon behind them.
Tuks narrowly lost to NWU in last year’s final, but they will have plenty of confidence, after finishing 2017 second on the log. They will also be boosted by the success of the North Gauteng Jaguars in the Brutal Fruit, and Gauteng winning the provincial championships in Durban in August.
Louw was named the best shooter at the provincial championships.
Last year the Maties hosted a Varsity semi-final against NWU, but lost a high scoring encounter 51-60.
The Maties ended third on this year’s log after they beat the Madibaz 54-29 in their last encounter on Monday night in Stellenbosch.
Their 26 logs points are their most yet, as well as the 415 goals they scored in their seven matches. They only lost to Tuks and NWU.
If Maties beat Tuks, and NWU conquer Kovsies in Bloemfontein, the final will be in Stellenbosch on 8 October.
The Pretoria students will host the first semifinal in the Varsity series. The game starts at 17:00.