It was a difficult campaign for Kovsies, but Burta de Kock, head coach of the Free State students, says that there are no excuses.
For the first time in the four years of Varsity Netball the champions of 2013 and 2014 did not make it through to the semi-finals.
They looked to have secured a spot in the top four, but a shock defeat by NWU-Pukke to the Madibaz closed the door on their chances. But with only three wins from seven matches, no team really deserves a place in the playoff stage.
“We had a hard fall which came a bit as of a surprise. It is easier to get to the top than staying there.
“We hoped the experience would come through towards the end, but that loss to UJ in the penultimate match was a big setback as we felt we should have won the encounter,” said De Kock.
It was always going to be a tough road with so many newcomers and experience and key players of the last couple of years missing. For a number of reasons Kovsies didn’t have the services of Karla Mostert, Lauren-Lee Christians, Ané Botha, Danelle Willemse, Dénielle van der Merwe, Dakalo Tshikala and Maryke Coetzee from previous years.
To make things worse, Kovsies had to do without Tanya Mostert and Alicia Puren, probably two of their three most influential players, for the last two matches because of national duty.
“I believe we are a team that do not rely on certain players only, but it was tough without those two. They are two of our leaders as well. Our juniors were simply not on the same level yet to fill their shoes. But on the other hand, the juniors need to start somewhere. We were in the same situation in 2009 and 2010 and managed to build something special.”
De Kock isn’t someone that likes to dwell too much in the past and according to her she has already started planning for next year.
“We have put this campaign behind us. We are not going to lose a single player next year. I’m very positive about the future.”