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Patience is Key, Says Severn Stars’ Captain

Severn Stars’ Captain, Maryka Holtzhausen, says patience will be key as her team looks for its second win of the season, when they take on Manchester Thunder this weekend.

The South African star, who missed the first two games due to international duties in the Quad Series, made a winning return in her first game back, against Celtic Dragons.

Holtzhausen says for the team to continue their winning ways against second-placed side Thunder, on Saturday (February 9, 6pm), they must be patient in both attack and defence.

“Our match against Thunder will be a good challenge for us,” she said.  “They are a team who have been playing together for a long time. One of their strengths is their patience with the ball on attack and relentless defence.

“Patience is key for us – on attack and defence. On attack we will need to keep possession, no matter how hard we need to work to get it to goal, and on defence we will need to be patient, trusting our structure and work hard till we turn ball over.”

This will be Stars’ second home game of the season, and its first at the University of Worcester Arena, its home venue for the last two seasons.  This year matches are being played at both the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire, who co-own the franchise

After snow saw last week’s match against Team Bath postponed, Stars will be hoping to pick up where they left off two weeks ago, when they sealed their first win of the season against Celtic Dragons 57-40, at the University of Gloucestershire Arena.  Thunder will come to the game full of confidence too, having won all three of their matches so far this season.

“We’re excited to be back at the University of Worcester Arena, and hoping to get a win for the fans there as well,” said Holtzhausen. “There is a great atmosphere in the squad, especially after a great home win. And having our match against Bath postponed due to snow has really got us excited about getting out there again.

“Although we would like to have played last week that is how it is. We can only be positive about it and see it as an extra week of training to improve in all areas of our game plan. I can’t wait to get out there for our next match though.”

She added that, in order to back up their first win, Stars were continually looking to improve.

She said: “It’s great to train in such a positive environment.  Obviously there are still many things we would like to improve on and be better at going into the next game, but we are working on doing those things better in training every week.  I believe a good aim is continued improvement, sticking to structures and implementing the game plan each week. If we stick to what we do best the results will speak for themselves.”

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Holtzhausen returns to Stars

South African attacking star, Maryka Holtzhausen, says the “possibilities are endless” for Severn Stars in 2019 as she confirmed her return for a second season with Severn Stars.

Maryka, who is in the South African squad currently touring New Zealand and Australia for the ongoing Quad Series, said she believed the team was capable of a top four finish after a positive end to the last campaign.

“I am very excited to return to the Severn Stars,” she said.  “I think we started a bit slow in the 2018 season and if we can pick up where we left off the possibilities are endless for the 2019 season.  I believe a top four finish is on the cards.  I hope to add controlled speed in the attack, accurate shooting, quick hands and just be a good team mate.”

Holtzhausen joined Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and the University of Gloucestershire, from Free State Crinums in September last year, first playing for Stars in the British Fast5 All-Stars Championship.  The 5ft 11in goal attack will continue to live in Cheltenham during the playing season.  She hopes to use her experience playing against top netballing sides, England, New Zealand and Australia, in the Quad Series to Stars’ advantage.

“I loved everything about my first season at the Stars,” added Holtzhausen, 31, of Bloemfontein, Free State, who outside of netball works as a Sports administrator at the University of the Free State.

“Obviously there will always be things I would want to be better at, especially on court, but I enjoyed the team environment, training and my life in Cheltenham.

“I believe the international season is a great opportunity to play against the best teams and players.

“It doesn’t get bigger than this [the Quad Series] really, but I think every time on court is preparing me for the next big game – and every game in the Superleague is a big game.”

Stars’ Head Coach, Sam Bird, who picked Holtzhausen as her player of the season last campaign, said: “We are so delighted to have Maryka back with us.

“She is the most dedicated trainer and an outstanding GA for both Stars’ line up and South Africa.

“We have missed her in the short time she has been away from the Club and are looking forward to welcoming her back.”

For tickets for the upcoming season or more information visit www.severnstars.co.uk.

Photo credit: Rockpool Photography

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Team Can Win Remaining Fixtures, says Severn Stars Player

Severn Stars player, Maryka Holtzhausen, says she believes her team have it in them to win their remaining fixtures of the season as they prepare to face second-placed Loughborough Lightning.

The team faced tough times earlier this season, including losing two games in the dying seconds of a match, having been in the lead.

But shooter Holtzhausen said this had served to make the team stronger and, after winning a key double-header against Surrey Storm last weekend, this had given the team great confidence.

“I definitely feel we have it in us to win our remaining games and I think as a squad we expect the best out of each other to make that possible,” she said.  “We just need to keep on trusting our structures and leave nothing out on the court.”

However, she admitted this Saturday’s (June 2) match against Loughborough Lightning, off the back of their win against previously unbeaten Wasps, will prove a tough test.

Holtzhausen, who played a season at Loughborough Lightning, said she was really looking forward to the match against her former team, at the Leicester Arena.  “I think if we play consistently over 60 minutes we can definitely be in there competing for the win,” she said.  “They have had a good win against Wasps so I am sure they will still be buzzing from that, but we have every intention to go out there and play the best game we can.

“We will definitely have to take care of the ball in hand and capitalize on every turnover.  Like all the teams in the Superleague, we cannot give Lightning the opportunity to score off our own ball and then we need to make sure our turnovers go to goal.”

Last weekend, Stars came out on top beating Surrey Storm 55-43 on Friday and 51-42 on Monday.

“I’m very happy with what Stars put out on court over the double-header weekend against Storm,” said Holtzhausen.  “Obviously there are still many things we want to improve on, but we have come a long way and it feels like we are really starting to connect as a team.  Winning a few matches definitely gives us confidence going into the last few matches of the season, but we still know there is a lot of hard work ahead of us if we want to keep the favourable results rolling in.

Holtzhausen said it was a privilege to play for Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and University of Gloucestershire.  “Through hardships teams can either grow closer together or drift apart, but after some really close losses and tough matches we have just grown stronger as a team,” she said.  “Whatever we face I think we face it together.”

Stars’ next home game is against UWS Sirens at the University of Worcester Arena on Monday, June 11, at 7pm.  For tickets visit www.severnstars.co.uk.

Photo credit: Rockpool Photography

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