Bronze Medal Matches (Boys): North West v Eastern Cape
Both the losing semi-finalists in VSA’s National Junior Championship, North West and E.Cape had much to prove to the fans that ‘Lady Luck’ turned her back on them as they went on to lose to Gauteng
and KZN respectively in their semi-final matches. Starting the bronze medal boys’ match like two fighters in a ring, North West and Eastern Cape set the stage for a mammoth struggle to reach the podium as medallists. Power attacks and crushing blocking were the order of the day. North West winning the first two sets by a 25-21; 25-19 margin dampened the spirits of the Cape team. A resurgence in the Eastern
Cape camp gave the lads hope of turning the tables against their more fancied opponents who were on a ‘high’ after having taken a 2 sets to nil lead. The 3rd set became a real humdinger as the score board was kept ticking evenly. Once again it was Thabang Mokoena who was the difference between the two teams. He closed proceedings with a 27-25 win in the 3 rd set for North West to reach the podium as the tournament’s bronze medallists.
Bronze Medal Match (Girls u19): Gauteng v KZN
One would have expected a 5 set bronze medal match to be tightly contested and unpredictable as to who will be the eventual winner. Sadly, the bronze medal match between Gauteng and KZN failed to
rise to the occasion. Marred by poor execution of the basic skills and committing far too many unforced errors especially by the Gauteng team turned the match into a damp squib. It seemed that the KZN U19 team failed to arrive for the fixture in the first two sets as a score line of 25-22; 25-25-22 was recorded for
them. However, losing by a 25-22; 25-22 margin spurred the KZN team to take a careful look at their game plan and start a ‘fight back’ to salvage their pride and possibly win the encounter. KZN’s ‘fight back’ strategy caused a state of disarray in the Gauteng camp. Unable to be adept in reception, defence at the net and in attack resulted in the Gauteng lasses succumbing to a 25-20 defeat. Still reeling from the 3 rd set loss the Gauteng team suffered a further humiliating 25-12 thrashing. Although the final 5 th set gave the Gauteng girls an opportunity to try to win the set and reach the podium as the tournament’s bronze
medallists, they however failed to seize the opportunity. When KZN took a runaway 5-1 lead in the 5 th set the death knell was struck for the Gauteng team. Lapses in concentration and committing unforced errors by the KZN team brought the Gauteng girls back into contention as the scores were level at 11-11.
Gauteng are to blame for failing to seize the opportunity to take control of the match and post a winning score. However, a team cannot be guilty of committing far too many errors and expect to win a match as the Gauteng U19 Girls team soon
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