Semi-Finals Match Reports
KZN’s Lions men’s team coach. Rudy Naidoo set his team a target of reaching the podium as the Champions Cup gold medallists without dropping a set. With a straight sets (3-0) win over fellow KZN team, Liberte in the semi-final, Lions are one match away when they meet VUT in the final on Saturday
at the UKZN Westville Campus Sports Centre in Durban.
While there were opportunities for Liberte to clinch both sets I and 2, Lions attacking machine spearheaded by Zimbabwean internationals, Terence Chapidzinga and Tafadzwa Keni was a constant thorn in the side of Liberte. However, Liberte’s inability to contain Jamine Naidoo eventually led to Liberte
losing the semi-final encounter. The effervescent Jamine Naidoo made sure that the score board was kept ticking in Lions’ favour. Efforts from Liberte’s Keveshan Bhagwandin, Mickesh Rampursad and skipper Hinesh Purbhoo were not enough to cause an upset victory over the high riding Lions.
In the second semi-final match,UKZN’s men’s team fans were confident that given the team’s sparkling performance in the group stages, the youngsters will overcome challenges from the more experienced Vaal University of Technology (VUT) enroute to the final. While the occasion could have been a daunting one for younger players, Coach KB Naicker restored confidence in his young charges after they succumbed to a 20-25 loss to VUT. A rejuvenated approach to their challenges resulted in a nail biting 25-23 win for UKZN to level matters (1-1). Unable to fight their way back into contention, UKZN slumped to a 15-25; 13-25 defeat, much to the dismay of their fans.
In the first women’s clash between the defending champions, UKZN and VUT it was the latter that caused an upset 25-23; 26-24; 25-14. The pulsating first two sets could have gone either way as both sets ended by the narrowed of margins (25-23; 26-24). It seemed that the intensely fought sets 1 and 2 had taken its toll on the UKZN ladies who went on to slide to a 25-14 defeat in their semi-final clash against VUT.
Meanwhile, volleyball history was made at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal’s Westville Campus Sport Centre during the staging of the 2023 Champions Cup when Beat Masters, newcomers in this competition from Mpumalanga fought their way past the experienced TUKS outfit from Tshwane to reach the
women’s final in grand style.
The five- set thriller had the fans cheering every move made by both teams to put quick points on the board. After losing the opening set (18-25), the Mpumalanga team’s spirited fight back earned them a deserved (25-15;25-20) win to take a 2-1 lead in the five set women’s final. The ‘do or die’ 4 th set had all the thrills and excitement of an ‘international final’ witnessed on the world stage. With lady luck on the side of TUKS the set which was fought on a knife’s edge went in favour of the Tshwane team to
level the scores (2-2). In the deciding 5 th set it was the younger and more energetic Beat Masters
who went on to triumph with a confident 15-8 victory. When the referee signalled for the end of the match, Beat Masters set the court alight with song and dance celebrating their win into the final of a national competition.
The women’s final between Mpumalanga’s Beat Masters and VUT is set for 12:00 on Saturday while KZN’s Lions will face Gauteng’s VUT in the men’s final which is scheduled to take place at 2pm. The entrance to the UKZN’s Sports Centre is free. The matches will be televised by Vision View Television.
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