By MARK HUNTER
Even Nic Balazs’s teammates were amazed at what he accomplished Saturday.
Balazs was remarkably efficient in leading the TRU WolfPack men’s volleyball team to a four-set (25-15, 23-25, 25-22, 25-16) victory over the Regina Cougars in Canada West action at the Tournament Capital Centre. TRU finished the first semester 5-7, and will return to league play in January.
Balazs had a night to remember, hitting an astronomical 82 per cent. The second-year middle from Prince George had 14 kills on 17 tries, and didn’t make an error attacking.
A player can consider a 33 per cent effort a good night; hitting 82 per cent is almost unheard of.
“Nic had a monster of a game,” said WolfPack head coach Pat Hennelly. “We definitely needed that.”
Balazs, who has been battling knee problems, didn’t play in his side’s four-set loss to the Cougars on Friday.
He gave the WolfPack a much-needed lift Saturday, especially in the third set. TRU struggled in the second set, but Balazs came through with seven kills on nine swings in the third.
The WolfPack won the set, then dominated the fourth.
“For a second-year guy, (Balazs) showed a lot of composure,” Hennelly said. “He got us big kills when we needed them.”
WolfPack setter Colin Carson, another Prince George native, had a front-row seat for the show, although he deserves some credit for getting the ball into Balazs’s hands.
“The hitters made me look good tonight, especially Nic,” Carson said. “If you look at the stats — 14-for-17, no errors. That’s amazing. He was awesome out there.”
Balazs wasn’t the only WolfPack player to have a strong night — Brad Gunter had 15 kills and 11 digs, while Philip Ozari ended with 10 kills. Stuart Richey had six kills and 10 digs, Carson had 41 assists and 11 digs and Blake Majcher had 10 digs.
TRU played tough defensively, never allowing the Cougars to get a consistent attack, and holding star right side
Andrew Nelson to 13 kills on 38 swings. The name of the game is keeping the ball off the floor, and the WolfPack was able to do that.
It can thank the likes of Majcher, Richey, Gunter, Carson and Ozari, who kept a lot of plays alive through effort alone.
“It was a big thing for us today to make sure our defence was good,” Carson said. “They were hitting the ball
OK, but we were good defensively.”
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The WolfPack women’s volleyball team goes into Christmas with an 0-12 record after losing in three sets (25-23, 25-14, 25-21) to the Cougars at the TCC on Saturday.
TRU’s next action is Jan. 11 against the host Saskatchewan Huskies.
On Saturday, Katarina Osadchuk had eight kills and Kristen Giesbrecht had nine digs. Katie Woo ended with 16 set assists. Desiree Ates had 11 kills for the Cougars (3-9), and Megan Semeniuk had 10 digs.
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The WolfPack women’s basketball team won a pair of weekend games in Winnipeg.
TRU (7-3) beat the host U of Winnipeg Wesmen 72-52 on Saturday, before going across town to beat the Manitoba Bisons 64-50 on Sunday.
Diane Schuetze had 14 points and 14 rebounds against the Wesmen, and Jen Ju scored 23 points. Tracy Kocs added 15 points, while Taiysa Worsfold had 11 points. Jorri Duxbury finished with 10 assists.
Worsfold led the way against the Bisons, scoring 18 points. Schuetze had 16 points, while Ju scored 13 and Duxbury again had 10 assists.
TRU returns to action Jan. 5, with a home game against the UBC-Okanagan Heat.
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The WolfPack men’s basketball team wasn’t so fortunate in Winnipeg, losing twice to fall to 4-6.
The Wesmen downed the WolfPack 90-68 on Saturday, before the Bisons scored a 91-80 victory on Sunday.
Blaz Bozinovic’s 16 points led the way for TRU on Saturday, and Brett Rouault added 10 points.
Will Ondrik had 21 points to lead the WolfPack on Sunday. Rouault and Zach Usherwood each scored 14 for TRU, and Kevin Pribilsky added 13. Bozinovic had 11 rebounds.
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The WolfPack lost two B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League games to Simon Fraser on the weekend — 7-1 at home on Friday, and 7-1 in Burnaby on Saturday.
Tyler Jackson had the WolfPack’s Friday goal, and Shane Mainprize (36) and Adrien Hervillard (6) combined to stop 42 shots.
Tyler Mah, with two, Jesse Mysiorek, Taylor Piller, Kale Wild, Trevor Milner and Nick Sandor scored for SFU, and Graeme Gordon made 29 saves.
On Saturday, Alessio Tomassetti scored for the WolfPack, which had Mainprize in goal. Christopher Hoe had two goals and two helpers for SFU, with Taylor Swaffield, Bruin McDonald, Wild, Trent Murdoch and Colton Graf also scoring. Evan Kurylo was in goal for Simon Fraser, and Ben Van Lare had three assists.
The WolfPack is off until Jan. 5, when it returns to Burnaby to play Simon Fraser.