UJ hockey back on top

Captain Taylor Dart led the University of Johannesburg's men's team to victory, securing a spot in the 2018 Varsity Hockey competition. Photo: Saspa

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) hockey teams are on track for their future preparations after good performances in the University Sports South Africa (USSA) tournament.

The men’s team reclaimed the title they last won in 2014 and the women finished runners-up.

Elize le Roux, UJ hockey manager said the tournament was used as a yardstick for UJ to measure themselves as well as against other institutions and to give younger players exposure.

UJ is currently rebuilding both their men’s and women’s teams. The women’s teams are being prepared for next year’s season while the men are focusing on 2019. All the plans and work UJ put into USSA paid off and everything was going as planned as they also qualified for the 2018 Varsity Hockey event.

In the tournament, the UJ men’s first match was against Varsity College and they managed a narrow 1–0 win. After losing to Stellenbosch University 4–3, UJ took on the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) with which they drew 1–1. They then beat the University of Pretoria 1–0 on their way to the final in which they defeated Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University 4–3.

For the UJ women, they had to overcome a mental block for their opening game against the Free State after having lost to them in the Varsity Hockey competition. The women managed a 0–0 draw against Free State and secured a top spot in the pool with a 4–0 win over the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

In the semi-finals, UJ beat Wits 3–0 in eight-second shootouts before losing 1–0 to Tuks in the final.

“Kirsten Paton held our midfield together while goalkeeper Robyn Ormond was outstanding. Among the men, vice-captain Gareth Heyns and captain Taylor Dart were the seniors who provided the experience we needed to keep the team grounded,” said Le Roux.

“As we lose seniors through finishing their studies, the youngsters will have to take the reins and I am sure they have learnt that hard work is needed for performances like these. The youngsters are new but experienced enough to take UJ hockey further.”

ALSO READ: UJ aims for the win at University Sport South Africa 

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Roxy de Villiers

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