Wits takes sixth in varsity hockey

In the play-offs yesterday, Wits hockey lost to Pukke leaving themselves and the small audience disappointed. But the team was chuffed to take sixth place in the varsity hockey tournament.

Final invite

FIELD GOAL: Wits hockey’s bench watch the game in suspense as their teammates attempt to fend-off Pukke’s centre forward. Photo: Anlerie de Wet

The Wits hockey team finished the varsity hockey tournament on a low yesterday when they lost round eight’s play-offs against Potchefstroom University (Pukke) 0-2 on the Wits astro turf.

The match started off badly for Wits after Pukke’s number 12, Stephanie Baxter scored a field goal within the first two minutes of the game.

The first three quarters of the game was intense and quick with a back and forth banter after Pukke’s first goal. But after Pukke scored their second goal in the beginning of the last quarter, Wits hopes seemed to have crumbled as their play started to slow down.

“We are a bit disappointed after this game, but we are happy with achieving sixth in the tournament, which was our goal,” said Wits’ captain Wendy Panaino.

Pukke went into the game with a great defensive tactics and put pressure on Wits’ weakness to convert opportunities. Wits’ centre forward struggled to keep the ball and execute goals.

Pukke hockey coach, Elun Hack believes his team’s defence was strong “but the offence let us down because they didn’t stay composed inside the 23.”

According to Wits hockey coach, Pietie Coetzee, her team’s energy was low and they didn’t accomplish what they planned for the game, but they exceeded everyone’s expectations in the tournament.

“Our weakness lies in that we are a young, inexperienced team, although there is unity and a fighting spirit amongst the girls,” said Coetzee.

Wits faced Pukke in round five last Friday and walked away with a 3-2 win. The tables turned yesterday and Pukke grabbed fifth place in the tournament.

Both teams saw the Varsity Hockey tournament as preparation for the University Sport South Africa National Institutional Hockey Championship end of June, which will be hosted in Pietermaritzburg by the University of KwaZulu Natal.

HOCKEY: Wits 1st team women suffer a 6-1 defeat to UJ

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: Wits coach (kneeling down) Pietie Coetzee strategizing a new plan

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD: Wits coach (kneeling down) Pietie Coetzee strategizing a new plan after the third quarter of the game. UJ was leading with 3-0.                                                        Photo: Nqobile Dludla

The Wits first team women’s side faced an unfortunate 6-1 defeat to University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Saturday in the UJ vs Wits Hockey Derby at UJ Hockey Astro.

The friendly match was aimed at assessing the team’s pre-season performance ahead of the much anticipated Varsity Sport Hockey tournament and Southern Gauteng Hockey premier league.

Commenting on the team’s performance, Wits coach Pietie Coetzee agreed that she was “expecting a really tough game” but didn’t expect the game to be that one sided.

“I don’t think that the scoreline was really necessary, I think we can be much better than that so that’s something we should control better.”

“The match I think went really well for us in the first half because we managed to achieve a few of our objects that we set out. To control certain phases of the game which we did very well. After the the first half we basically took our foot off the pedal a bit and they came hard at us and scored all 5 of their goals in the second half.” said Coetzee.

Tough game for Wits

It was hard-fought from the outset, with an even battle in the first half meaning that scoring opportunities were few and far between.

“After the the first half we basically took our foot off the pedal a bit and they came hard at us.”

The home side came out guns blazing in the first quarter with clean short quick passes which were a bit of a challenge for Wits who focused on long passes.

Wits created a few early chances, but UJ scrambled well on defence and as a result made a few counter-attacking runs.

UJ opened the scoring against Wits 9 minutes into the game, leaving Wits falling behind with a 1-0 scoreline.

UJ threatened to score two more goals after wining short corners but UJ’s Taren Malleit slammed the ball straight to Wits’ goalkeeper’s feet.

UJ extended their lead to 2-0 when Marizen Marais scored in the last 4 minutes of the 3rd quarter.

Just when Wits was still dealing with the previous blow, UJ came back again with Claire Frey receiving a square pass from Nika Nel,slamming a 3-0 lead.

The Wits side could not take advantage of a short corner in the 4th quarter resulting in a goalless attempt that was quickly deflected by UJ’s goalkeeper Robyn Ormond.

The home side continued to dominate the last quarter when two goals left the score at 5-0 to UJ.

Wits finally responded with just 5 minutes left. A perfect shot from Toni Marks assisted by Londeka Dlamini and Nicole Fyrie, leaving the score at 5-1.

While Wits was still celebrating a goal, UJ ended the fight with a 6-1 scoreline.

Score update:





HOCKEY: Varsity Hockey champs UJ beat Wits 5-2


MEN IN THE BOX: Wits first team men's side prepares for a short corner taken by UJ in the first half. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

MEN IN THE BOX: Wits first team men’s side prepares for a short corner taken by UJ in the first half.                                                                                                                                                          Photo: Nqobile Dludla

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) 1st team men came up top in the UJ vs Wits Hockey Derby friendly tournament with a clinical 5-2 victory over Wits on Saturday at UJ Hockey Astro.

UJ wasted no time when the first half began as they showed Wits why they clinched the 2014 Varsity Hockey title.

UJ’s midfield ace Taylor Dart threatened to take UJ into the lead just 2 minutes into the game when his square cross from Brandon Panther was deflected by Wits’ goalkeeper Xander van Biljoen.

Another chance came from UJ’s Gareth Heyns who smacked a hopeful shot from the quarter line, but van Biljoen was too quick for his confident attempt.

With UJ dominating the first half with ball possession, Wits finally applied pressure in the back and moved the ball up past the center line and inside UJ’s D. However after much fight Wits’ Jon Haughton lost what could have been a lead goal for Wits when his advance was quickly stolen from him.

Panther quickly raced down and smacked the ball inside the top corner to send the home crowd into wild celebrations with a 1-0 lead to UJ 5 minutes into the game.

A wasted corner by UJ could have sent the fast paced men into a 2-0 lead, however Nic Rowe failed to stop the ball outside the top D.

After two more wasted chances, UJ’s Gerald Mpopo calmly pushed the ball between van Biljoen’s legs to send the hosts into a 2-0 lead.

Wits tried to redeem themselves in the last 6 minutes of the first half when upon winning a short corner, Jordi Sanders’ attempt was deflected by UJ’s goalkeeper Mattew Martins. A second chance for Wits came from Dylan Murray as he smacked a powerful shot that went wide of the post.

It was only in the last dying minutes that Wits started applying more pressure and equalized ball possession, but UJ held out well and took their two-goal lead into halftime.

Wits coming back strong in the second half

UJ had more powerplay at the start of the 2nd half as they attacked Wits in an attempt to take the game way beyond their traditional foe. Heyns slammed a goal, taking the hosts to a 3-0 lead after UJ won their second short corner.

Wits finally pulled back one showing plenty of fighting spirit when Haughton scored a goal, leaving the score at 3-1 to UJ.

After a failed attempt from a third short corner, Bryon Cleak responded with a 4-1 goal by pushing up-field and taking the ball into the Wits D and flicking it inside the right corner of the post.

It didn’t take long for Wits to respond when a hopeful short corner taken by Sean Donaldson went straight to Sanders who sent one in, leaving the score at 4-2 to UJ.

The Varsity Hockey champs extended their lead with just 1 minute left when a goal was scored before the game ended. Although Wits were able to pull 2 back, it was not enough to avoid defeat as the game finished 5-2 to UJ.

Score update:


HOCKEY: Wits hockey show signs of improvement

IMPROVING: Wits hockey team has a team talk over one of their short penalties which they failed to convert in their game against UCT. Photo : Luca Kotton

IMPROVING: Wits hockey team has a team talk over one of their short penalties which they failed to convert in their game against UCT. Photo : Luca Kotton

Wits hockey are second last on the Varsity Hockey log, after two bonus points and a draw in this weekends’ fixtures in Bloemfontein left them just two points above Rhodes University.

The first game on Saturday was against the home side, University of the Freestate (UFS), who started with a flurry of goals. Wits found themselves 4-0 down after 25 minutes but somehow managed to salvage a bonus point with a great second and third chukka display. Wits spirited performance left the game ending 6-4 to UFS in a high scoring game.

Barry Morisse, Wits link said,” We really didn’t have a good game but lots of positives to take forward- to grab a bonus point after being 4-0 was a great effort. Lots of hard work to do still though. ”

The crucial clash for Wits came against Rhodes, who had also only accomplished one draw up to that point in the fixture list. The match ended in a 1-1 draw after Rhodes led the match.

Matthew Povall, Wits half said, “It was a game we really should have won. We had many chances but never converted.”

The last game of the second leg of the tournament, hosted by UFS saw Wits play University of Pretoria in their final game, late on Monday afternoon. Wits narrowly missed out, 3-2 to the second placed Pretoria team but managed to salvage another bonus point.

Wits hockey coach, Mark Sanders, after picking up four valuable points this weekend said,”It’s been a tough weekend but the improvement from last weekend is good. We’ve created more chances but failed to convert a lot. Defensively we grown and stepped up to show that we can carry out simple instructions and follow the plan.”

Wits last group game will be against University of Johannesburg, the host team, on May 17 before the playoffs take place the same weekend.


Wits hockey brotherhood

READY FOR ACTION: Number seven,Jaryd Povall and his Brother,number six, stand in front of coach, Mark Sanders.

READY FOR ACTION: Number seven,Jaryd Povall and his Brother,number six, stand in front of coach, Mark Sanders.

THE NUMBERS three to seven add a unique aspect to the Wits hockey club.

The men’s hockey squad includes brothers, Jaryd and Matthew Povall and three brothers, James, Craig and Michael Daniels. Between them, they hold three to seven of the 21 jersey numbers in the team.

Coaches views

Do the brothers come as a package, or is it a coincidence that all the brothers were picked for the squad? Wits Hockey coach Mark Sanders says, “They’re all good enough. That is the only coincidence.”

Interview with the two sets of brothers

Wits Vuvuzela spoke to the two sets of brothers and, perhaps naturally, found some rivalry between the sibling groups.“There are only two of us Povalls, so at least we don’t need a team bus to travel to
games and training,“ says Matthew. The Daniels brothers respond with laughter, and Craig adds, “Yes, two’s a company, threes a party.”

The Daniels brothers say it doesn’t matter to them that the Povalls are brothers. They are simply two team members, the same as everyone else in the squad. The Povalls say the three brothers are dynamic, hardworking and bring good energy to the team.

Commenting on the Povalls, Craig Daniels said, “They are brothers too, so sharing that experience of playing with someone that is so close to you is always special – especially at the level we are playing…Them being
brothers just contributes to how well they know each other on and off the park, which helps.”

All the brothers believe that being siblings and playing as team mates brings a different feeling to a team. The Daniels brothers stick up for each other, but also realise each of them can stand up for themselves. They are brothers and team mates on and off the field.

Since people were asking about the Daniels brothers on Twitter, Wits Vuvuzela posed the question: which set of brothers do they believe is more appealing to the ladies. “Definitely the Daniels’…We’re a lot more fun,” says Craig with a wink.

Another player, John Tatham, also has two brothers who play hockey, and if they were part of the team, it would be even more of a family affair.

Varsity hockey tournament

The Wits hockey team will be looking to improve on this past weekend’s performances, which saw them get only one point from three games. They will play the second leg of the Varsity hockey tournament this coming weekend in Bloemfontein against Kovsies, Rhodes and Tuks.


HOCKEY: UCT victorious over Witsies

Wits Hockey lost 4-2 to the University of Cape Town (UCT) in their last match of the Varsity Hockey Tournament at home last night.

hockey UCT vs WITS

PUTTING IN HIS ALL: Barry Morisse dribbles forward from his own half in a spirited performance which saw his team lose to UCT. Photo: Luca Kotton

Within two minutes of the first chukka, the UCT team managed to score their first goal. Supporters from Wits were not too thrilled with the early celebrations but their team still had lots to prove for the remainder of the game.

Wits were awarded two penalty corners and failed to convert either, while UCT took advantage and scored two goals in the first chukka from their penalty corners.

The visitors from the coast were not as dominant in the second chukka but they still managed to score another goal in the remaining minutes of the chukka putting them in the lead with a strong 4-1 score against the locals.

In the last few minutes of the game Wits was in charge and was able to score a goal with seven minutes remaining till the final whistle blew, they failed to score anymore goals and the score finished 4-2 in favour of UCT.

The man of the match award went to UCT’s Andy Winter, and the saver of the day was Wits’s Cole Zondagh, his third time during the tournament.

We just didn’t stand up and take responsibility in our roles.

Wits hockey coach, Mark Sanders spoke to Wits Vuvuzela after UCT scored from three of their set pieces, “We discussed all their set pieces we knew exactly what was happening … we just didn’t stand up and take responsibility in our roles.”

Sanders admits that the upcoming hockey tournament in Bloemfontein next week will be difficult. “It’s going to be a hard challenge but we can definitely work hard to get there, we got two big games that we have to salvage something out of but we can do it if we put our minds to it, if luck goes our way a little bit we can get there.”


HOCKEY: Wits Men suffer 5-1 loss to Maties in first match of varsity tournament


FIRST ROUND: The dying seconds of the last chukka saw Maties Men’s hockey side net in 2 goals which added to the 5-1 victory over the Wits Men’s hockey side. Photo: Nqobile Dludla

The Maties Men’s hockey side were true to form as they secured a 5-1 victory over Wits Men in the opening match of the Varsity Hockey tournament on Saturday.

The Wits side, playing on their home ground, had anticipated a tough match against the team from Stellenbosch, seen as their toughest competitors.

Dribble away

Two minutes into the first chukka, Maties earned themselves a short corner which was quickly deflected by Wits defence line.

Maties keeping Wits inside their half of the court regained the ball as they attempted another denied goal which resulted in another short corner.

The second short corner looked promising as Maties’ Shannon Boucher gained a rebound from Keenan Horne.

After a failed short corner by Wits, Barry Morisse managed to shoot a clean shot after a brave dribble inside the Maties’ D (the shooting arc), with only just two minutes left of the first chukka.

Maties then equalised with a well executed goal. With just a minute left, Wits’ Brian Rowe attempted a brave shot which went over the goal post, leaving the first chukka score at 1-1.

Wasting no time in the fast paced match, Maties regained the ball quickly after Wits threw a wide overhead in the second half.

What seemed like a failed short corner as Maties’ Shannon Boucher’s drag got deflected, Rob Edwards gave Maties a 2-1 lead as he slapped the ball into the goal post from the top D nine minutes into the 2nd chukka.

Wits fell short as a well executed dribble from Stuart Philip to Michael Daniel who slapped a strong pass towards the top D was received by no one, making Wits fall behind.

In the last chukka, Wits came back with much needed determination to score as Brandon Downes beautifully swept the ball to Craig Daniel who executed a meticulous dribble to James Daniel, witnessing a deflected goal attempt coming from James Daniel which made Wits supporters cringe.

Maties’ Jordan Turnbull scored the 3rd goal and was rewarded as the man of the match. The last dying seconds of the last chukka saw Maties score 2 goals, making the final score 5-1 over Wits.

Applauding his team’s hardwork, Wits Men’s coach, Mark Sanders said: “We played very well. I think that Maties were a little bit surprised by us going up one null and they had to fight a little bit harder and not a walk in the park as they had expected. We can take a lot of positives from this.”

“Definitely we can improve on the marking, a little bit tighter. I think we gave away some easy goals from the marking. We just need to step it up I mean we had good chances to score we just needed to be a little bit more clinical in the last 25,” Sanders said.

The second round will see Wits take on NMMU (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University).



Wits optimistic of success in varsity hockey tournament

The Wits Hockey Club are looking to do well in this year’s varsity hockey tournament, with the first leg starting on home turf tomorrow.

The tournament sees eight varsity teams competing in three rounds of fixtures in the Wits University set of matches before they move on to the next tournament.

PASSIONATE COACH: Mark Sanders,Wits men's hockey coach, shows his player, Matthew Povall a trick or two. Photo: Luca Kotton

PASSIONATE COACH: Mark Sanders,Wits men’s hockey coach, shows his player, Matthew Povall a trick or two. Photo: Luca Kotton

Wits hockey coach, Marc Sanders, is optimistic of his team’s chances at the tournament. He believes the key to success is a solid start. He hopes Wits will finish in the top four of the competition.

Sanders, speaking to his team in practice, says, “I like my team to train like they’re in second place and play like we are in first place.”

Wits’ first game is against Maties (Stellenbosch University) on Saturday afternoon, a team that Sanders considers Wits’ toughest opponents.

The next two matches will be against Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University on Sunday at 12h45 and the televised game on Monday will be against the University of Cape Town at 18h45.


Wits hockey scores its latest goal

SUPER COACH: Olympic hockey player and Wits first team coach, Pietie Coetzee,  watches on during a practice session at Wits’ astroturf.                                                                                                              Photo: Luca Kotton

SUPER COACH: Olympic hockey player and Wits first team coach, Pietie Coetzee, watches on during a practice session at Wits’ astroturf. Photo: Luca Kotton

Olympic hockey player and world record holder, Pietie Coetzee, believes Wits hockey will see its first national team player within the next three years.

The recently appointed Wits women’s first team hockey coach told Wits Vuvuzela: “I want to be associated with a top university. Hockey at Wits has reached a point where the potential for growth is very evident. I would like nothing more than to be part of the growth and achieving success.”

Who is Coetzee?

Coetzee, who has played in three Olympic Games, holds the world record for the most field hockey goals scored in international matches. She currently plays for the national team and runs her own coaching business. She was appointed to the Wits team this year and coaches a number of other teams and individuals.

[pullquote align=”right”]”The combination of studying and playing for the national team has been a familiar one for many, if not all the national players for many years. The students get so many more opportunities to play at high level competitions.”[/pullquote]

She said many professional players and young aspiring professionals use universities as a springboard, playing hockey and studying towards other careers. “In a South African context, university hockey is a very important platform. The combination of studying and playing for the national team has been a familiar one for many, if not all the national players for many years. The students get so many more opportunities to play at high level competitions.”

Team goals

 Coetzee said she hoped the women’s team would finish in the top six of the southern Gauteng league and, more importantly, gain promotion to the A section of University Sports South Africa tournament this year. She planned to do this by establishing an ethos the team could call their own and be proud of. She said she believed her international experience had played a major role in her coaching style.

 She was fortunate to have been exposed to many opportunities and she believed she had been shaped by those moments. The way she coached was a direct result of those experiences.

 She believed her international background would create extra opportunities for Witsies. There were aspects of hockey she had specialised in and the hockey club would gain from her knowledge in these areas.

 The Wits hockey club’s facilities were unique, she said, as the astroturf was of high quality. What made them even more special was the view of Johannesburg and the vibe students created.

What next for Coetzee?

 After her professional hockey career, Coetzee plans to commit full time to coaching. The world record holder also wants to start a family. Asked what she does outside of hockey, Coetzee said: “I take long walks in the park, read novels and watch movies … Just kidding. I really don’t have much spare time to talk about.”

COOL KID: Kirsten Morley-Jepson

ALL ROUNDER: Kirsten Morley-Jepson- sports star and doctor in the making poses with her hockey kit during practice.

ALL ROUNDER: Kirsten Morley-Jepson- sports star and doctor in the making poses with her hockey kit during practice. Photo: Luca Kotton

As Wits Hockey player of the year for 2013 and the longest-serving player on the team, Kirsten Morley-Jepson finds time to juggle practice and her degree in medicine. The 24-year old is in her sixth year studying a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBCH) degree and is looking to specialise in general medicine.

Why did you decide to play hockey?
I think I’d be miserable if I didn’t play hockey and I only studied medicine. It is a good social sport, particularly at Wits. It sets us apart from other varsities.

What do you do in your extra time?
I like to go on Nike runs and spend time with my friends. I go out to Great Dane and Greenside. I also work at the pathology lab, Gritzman and Thatcher.

What is the most rewarding thing about playing hockey?
I like the game and the Wits coaches are very cool. I played for four years for Southern Gauteng provincial hockey Ladies B team and our team at Wits is always improving. We have had a 20% influx of girls participating at trials this year. Also Wits has invested a lot of money into the sports department and now we have better facilities.

What makes the hockey club different from other clubs at Wits?
The club has a good social atmosphere. We are very proud of our social events.
What is the most challenging part of the sport? The sport doesn’t get as much attention as other sports. Women’s hockey isnt as televised as other sports. We need more people to be aware of our matches.

What is your advice to first year students who want to play hockey?
I would say don’t miss out on the Wits hockey experience because it’s been the highlight of my student years.

Wits hockey’s ‘Harlem Shake’ one of the best

The Wits hockey team’s version of the popular Harlem Shake has been named as a favourite of a prominent talk-show host.

Talk radio 702’s Jenny Crwys Williams has named the hockey team’s Harlem Shake as her favourite.

The underwater hockey team had to tread water in their formal gear for about twenty seconds at a time, in order to execute the video.

Team member Nick Quarta had suggested the idea to the team. On hearing the news that 702 had mentioned the team, the chairperson of the team, Vicky Stock was ecstatic.

“We were all very excited, I received a message from a friend telling me he’d just heard that 702 had mentioned our Harlem Shake. We never thought it would ever get that far so it was really cool news,” Stock said. Stock added, “the sport is still growing in South Africa and we were all amped that the Harlem Shake got out there to expose it!”

The ‘Harlem shake’ has evolved into an internet meme that has gone viral on multiple social media platforms. The meme is in the medium of  video. The video consists of people who perform a dance to the song ‘Harlem shake’ by Baauer.

The first ‘Harlem shake’ was uploaded on February 2, 2013 by a group of students from Australia. The video was modelled from a video that was made by online blogger Filthy Frank.

The formula of executing the Harlem Shake involves making a video that is approximately 30 seconds long.

The video usually begins with one individual who dances to the song amongst a group of inattentive individuals. The bass of the song drops after about 15 seconds which results in the inattentive crowd dancing along with the individual in an enthusiastic manner.

The  ‘Harlem shake’ concept has been used politically in Egypt, Tunisia and in the United States of America.