The week, which incorporates men’s and women’s sides, will take place at Stellenbosch University from July 1 to 5.
After just failing to make the semifinals of the Varsity Hockey competition earlier this year, UJ hockey manager Elize le Roux said they knew they needed to take their opportunities at the USSA event.
“We were close in many games at Varsity Hockey, but just lacked a bit of finishing,” she said.
“We know we need to stay focused on our game-plan and execute it for the full period of the match.”
A year ago the UJ teams finished fifth (men) and sixth (women) as they went through a rebuilding phase and Le Roux said this year they would be aiming for the semifinals.
“For the men a top four spot would be realistic, but we still have a relatively youthful squad as we continue to build, so we will have to work hard for this.”
She added that the tournament provided a good barometer of their strength in relation to other varsities.
“It’s always handy to measure yourself against your contemporaries in a competitive environment, with all eight teams having a chance of doing well.”
The men’s team, guided by coaches Garreth Ewing and Lance Louw, will rely on leading players such as Taylor Dart, Courtney Halle, Kyle Lion-Cachet, Andile Ndlovu, Spencer Botes and Che February.
Botes was the top goal-scorer at this year’s U21 interprovincial.
Women’s coach Tsoanelo Pholo will have a key role to play as she strives to lift the women’s outfit into the top four, with national representative Kristen Paton also an important member of the squad.
But Le Roux emphasised that nothing short of a team effort would be enough to reap any success for either squad.