Defending champion Alexa Pienaar hopes to defend two titles when the University Sport South Africa squash tournament is held at UCT in Cape Town from June 30 to July 5.
The University of Johannesburg No 1 is the women’s champion, while her team will be looking to add to the seventh straight title they won in Port Elizabeth last year.
Spearheaded by experienced players such as Pienaar, Kyle Maree and captain Blessing Muhwati, UJ will again be the favourites.
“We have some good continuity from last year, with Kacey-Leigh Dodd, who has finished her degree, the only one who has left,” said Pienaar.
“This leaves Jennifer Preece to step up to play at No 2, while Panashe Sithole, a talented first year, will slot in at No 3.”
The men’s team also contain plenty of experience, with Maree, Muhwati and Tyrone Dial being joined by the talented Amu Zitha, one of the top U19 players in the country.
The USSA week will start with the individual tournament, which runs from Sunday to Tuesday.
“Naturally, defending the title is my main goal but I want do so in a good spirit and to be an example to young up-and-coming players,” said the 24-year-old Pienaar.
She felt the competition for the individual title would be tough.
“My own teammates, Jennifer and Panashe, are right up there and then there are players like Hayley Ward from Nelson Mandela University, Danell Douglas from North-West University and Mariska Wiese from Pretoria, who will all be difficult to beat.”