Kovsies gave their teammate Ané Retief a warm 21st birthday gift as they took a hard fought 59-55 win against NWU at their Callie Human home on Monday.
Kovsies, got off to a quick start scoring the first goal that was almost immediately followed by an interception by Khanyisa Chawane. Their opposition from the North-West University, however, quickly returned the favour with interceptions coming from Didintle Keebine and Monique Reyneke to gain an early lead.
Interception from Jana Scholtz and pressure under the NWU goal-post allowed Kovsies to stay close on their heels.
The final seconds of the quarter saw the birthday girl, Ané Retief, putting pressure on the NWU shooters and scoring a rebound. Unfortunately, Kovsies couldn’t make it count and ended the quarter trailing by five goals as the first quarter score stood at 16-11 in NWU’s favour.
The second quarter saw a change from the Kovsies bench with Chanel Vrey replacing Retief in the goalkeeper position.
Although the home side struggled to get their first goal of the second quarter, interceptions from Chawane and Scholtz gave them a few extra chances. Pressure from the Kovsies defence saw them closing in on the NWU and interceptions from Bianca de Wee and Player of the Match ‘Sne’ Mdletshe allowed Kovsies to even the scores at 20-all, followed by a two-goal lead.
With the Callie Human crowd fully behind their ‘Dream Team’ as if it were the final, the first Powerplay was called. NWU made quick work of turning it in their favour, scoring three double pointers. This, however, wasn’t enough to catch up to Kovsies’ speed, as the home side took a narrow lead at half-time, 31 goals to 28.
The ladies in the purple-striped kit started the second half with changes in their goal attack and centre positions with Jessica du Plessis moving from centre to goal attack and Kailah Ferreira coming on the in the centre bib.
Despite NWU’s changes, the home side did well to deal with the defensive pressure that forced them to be patient in moving the ball down the court, but ultimately, they continued to extend their lead to five goals.
Despite the goals going according to centre pass for most of the quarter, Kovsies were able to extend their lead to 13 goals, as Lefébre Rademan ended the quarter with one of her ever-stylish long bombs, taking the score to 48-35.
The final quarter started with more changes from NWU’s side as Reyneke moved to goalkeeper and Caitlinn Rousseau coming on at goal defence. This seemed to work for the visitors as they quickly closed the gap to 10 goals.
With a little over 11 minutes left to play, the second Powerplay was called. It looked like NWU were going to capitalise on the opportunity to get themselves back into the game, but the Kovsies showed just why they are three-time champions.
The last couple of minutes saw the visitors close in ever so slightly, with Reyneke reading the interplay between Mdletshe and Rademan, but exceptional shooting from Rolene Streutker allowed Kovsies to capitalise on their opponents’ mistakes.
Although it was a fight until the end, Kovsies were just too good for NWU and took the game – though the visitors picked up two bonus points: one for scoring 50 points and one for losing by seven points or less.
FNB Player of the Match: Sikholiwe Mdletshe (Kovsies)
Wimpy Moment Maker: Lefébre Rademan (Kovsies)
MTN Interceptor of the Match: Monique Reyneke (NWU)
Kovsies: 7 Khanyisa Chawane (vice-captain), 2 Bianca de Wee, 12 Oageng Khasake, 5 Sikholiwe Mdletshe, 15 Ancia Pienaar, 4 Lefébre Rademan (captain), 6 Ané Retief, 8 Meagan Roux, 3 Jana Scholtz, 1 Rieze Straeuli, 14 Rolene Streutker, 13 Chanel Vrey.
Coach: Burta de Kock
NWU: 13 Londeka Buthelezi, 3 Jessica du Plessis, 14 Kailah Ferreira, 17 Anelda Jacobs, 2 Didintle Keebine, 12 Leonie Maree, 8 Mirriam Maroba, 1 Monique Reyneke (captain), 11 Caitlinn Rousseau, 10 Lucy Strydom, 4 Adivhaho Tshivhiahuvhi, 5 Alicia van Staden.
Coach: Elsunet du Plessis
By Mary Gordon