The NWU are through to a third consecutive final and fourth in the five years of Varsity Netball with a comprehensive 53-37 victory over the Kovsies in Bloemfontein.
The students from Potchefstroom will face UP-Tuks in Pretoria next Monday in a repeat of 2016 final.
The third quarter is often described as the 15 minutes where matches get decided. This was the case with the winning team stretching out to a massive 12 goal lead (38-26) by the end of the third quarter after the scores were still level 20-all at half time. That was thanks to a productive power play where they scored four points to the zero of the Kovsies.
But overall the visitors made far less errors and intercepted a number of the passes to frustrate the home side.
As the game progressed, the large and vibrant crowd in the Callie Human Hall in Bloemfontein became less of a factor and much quieter. The first half was a ding-dong affair with the biggest goal difference being the 19-16 lead Kovsies built up that was quickly erased.
Both coaches had a plan or two up their sleeves. Burta de Kock (Kovsies) played Alicia Puren at goal keeper after she had played goal shooter the whole series. Dorette Badenhorst (NWU) called on the services of Protea Sigi Burger at goal shooter in the third and fourth quarter and she made the required impact.
The news earlier from the NWU camp was that Burger wouldn’t play for them this year as she hasn’t recovered sufficiently from her injury. Zandré Erasmus, goal keeper of NWU, earned yet another FNB Player of the Match award which was richly deserved. She had a brilliant performance and gave the Kovsies shooters nightmares.
By the time the Kovsies called their power play with eight minutes remaining, the match was already over as a contest with the winning team opening a 44-30 lead at that stage. NWU overall were more composed when things heated up in comparison to the Kovsies who often made silly errors under pressure.
FNB Player of the Match: Zandré Erasmus (NWU)
Samsung Best Shot Award: Jessica du Plessis (NWU)
NWU: Anja Esterhuizen, Jessica du Plessis, Marike Maree, Sigi Burger, Romé Dreyer, Chanté Bester ©, Mandy Hermanus, Simoné Rabie, Didi Keebine, Jomari Myburgh, Zandré Erasmus, Monique Reyneke.
Kovsies: Gertriana Retief, Alicia Puren, Marna Claassens, Meagan Roux, Rieze Straeuli, Khanyisa Chawane, Sikholiwe Mdletshe, Khomotso Mamburu, Mariska Pieters, Tanya Mostert ©, Maryke Coetzee, Ané Retief.