VAAL UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (VUT) v TSHWANE UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (TUT)
Despite facing tough challenges in their respective group stages the Vaal University of Technology (VUT) and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) set their sights on reaching the final of the prestigious Tubby Reddy Classic club, the gateway tournament to the African Zone 6 championship scheduled to take place in Malawi in December this year.
TUT’s Tsepang Thafeng strong over arm service in the opening set of the final against VUT forced the latter onto the back foot as they slid to a quick fire 1-10 deficit. While VUT struggled to contain the tall and strongly built Tsepang the TUT ladies celebrated every point that seemed to put a damper on the spirits of their challengers.
Things began to brighten up for VUT when Tsepang’s service ended up into the net. Joining forces in attack, Nokulunga Kunene and Karabo Molefha closed the points gap eventually levelling matters with a hard fought 15-15 score line.
Although attackers Khosi Kubheka and Nstwaki Moloisane tried their best to streak ahead with their powerful attacking strategy, TUT blockers stood strong in defence. Anna Phago connected well with setter Naome Thantsha and went on to close proceedings with a 25-22 first set win.
When the tightly contested 2nd set reached a 18-18 score line the fans held their breath as the set could have gone either way as both teams were not afraid to attack and cover the court with lightning speed to recover balls that came off the block. A display of power attacks from Kunene and Molefha put VUT in the driving seat as they clinched the set with a 25-20 margin to level matters at 1-1.
The crowd pleasing 3rd set saw TUT taking a slender 15-13 lead. Combined efforts from VUT’s Nokulunga Kunene and Khosi Kubheka turned the tables on TUT as VUT led by a 17-15 margin. Despite Anna Phago’s blistering attacks from the power position VUT went on to grab a 25-20 win to lead by 2 sets to 1.
Strong blocking by both teams brought loud cheers from the fans as the ball was kept alive by the cover players who restarted the attack much to the delight of the fans. At times the excitement dished out by both teams became too much to bear for the fans who joined in the action and celebrated every time the ball was grounded. At 24-23 VUT capitalised on a perfect set to hammer home the final point and take the set with a heart stopping 25-23 score.
Tournament favourites VUT took a 6-4 lead in the crucial 5th set. Great attacking and long drawn out rallies were the hall marks of the deciding set in the breath taking final. The excitement was at fever pitch when the score stood at 14-12 in favour of TUT. When VUT’s Tshedi Dlamini reached the base line to executive a service to hopefully close the points gap to 14-13 her service sped over her opponents’ base line to hand the final set to TUT with a 15-12 score. TUT’s fans joined their team to celebrate their hard fought win on the court.
Both finalists qualify to represent South Africa at the African Zone 6 Club Championship in Malawi at the end of this year.