Video Spotlight - Nicole Bazin

LANGLEY, British Columbia - For a bit of a “by chance” recruit, Nicole Bazin turned out pretty darn good.

Make that pretty darn great.

Now in her fourth year at Trinity Western, the 6-foot, Winnipeg, Man. product has become a mainstay in the middle of the Spartans court. And after returning from an ankle injury this past weekend against Alberta, an injury that saw her miss the entire fall semester after tearing her anterior talofibular ligament (ATFL) in the summer, she immediately stepped into the starting lineup and made an impact. In her first outing of the season, last Friday, she had four kills and four blocks and, in doing so, started to look like the Bazin of old. That would be the one who last year was second on the Spartans in blocks with 1.00 per set in conference play, only trailing Trinity Western’s Alicia Perrin, and tied for fifth in Canada West.

“Nicole is a great blocker and she is an offensive threat,” said Spartans coach Ryan Hofer. “She brings years of experience to the floor. She works hard and she’s very intelligent. She brings maturity and calmness and she’s just a good ball player.”

With Bazin back on the floor, the Spartans knocked off then No. 2 ranked Alberta in three sets Friday and then lost in a five-set thriller Saturday that many in Trinity Western’s camp believe was a win they should have had.

Needless to say, she does made a difference. And that was just one weekend. In reality she’s just getting going.

And to think, the Spartans kind of just stumbled upon her.

Sure, the savvy crew that makes up Trinity Western’s women’s volleyball scouting staff may have discovered her regardless but on one particular day, it just so happened Bazin and her team was providing the opposition for a different potential recruit Hofer and company had their eye on.

That day, Hofer was there chiefly to watch a setter by the name of Sam Loewen. The East St. Paul, Man. product ended up staying close to home as she joined the University of Manitoba and had a rather successful career with the Bisons. However, across the net was a certain Grade 12 aged Bazin catching the eye of Hofer.

Hofer asked about the burgeoning middle blocker and it didn’t take long before he had her signature.

All it seemingly took was a couple of conversations and then a decision-cementing visit to the Langley campus.

“I came out on a recruiting visit and I fell in love with the school,” Bazin said.  “I had never even heard of Trinity Western until Chelsea Hudson (Bazin’s second cousin and the Spartans setter) came here when I was in Grade 11.

“When I came here I felt like I was so young and little and everyone was so nice to me. There were people opening doors for me and people wanting to meet me and people asking if I wanted to come for breakfast the next morning. I just felt super welcome. The girls on the team never let me be by myself. They took good care of me.”

Prior to her trip out west, she was pretty much signed, sealed and planned to attend another Canada West school. Everything changed on that trip and as it turned out her delivery address became 7600 Glover Road.

And it didn’t take long for her to be thrown into the CIS fire.

In her first year at Trinity Western, due to a key injury, she was forced into action in the national championship. In the quarter-final against Laval, she tied for the team lead in blocks with five. In the consolation semifinal against Moncton, she had five kills. And in the fifth place against York game she added six kills and four blocks. You could say, she did quite well, especially for a first-year player.

But to anyone who knows Bazin, her wily performance likely came as no surprise.

As a kid, Bazin was always good at keeping up and then, getting ahead in her sporting ventures. As a self-proclaimed tomboy, she constantly kept up with boys.

“I was always outside and climbing trees or playing spy or riding my bike or playing shinny in winter,” Bazin said. “I am still outdoorsy.”

Growing up in Winnipeg, she played every sport she could.

She played hockey and soccer. She danced and did track and field.

In fact, it was track and field that nearly derailed her volleyball career. She nearly took her jumping abilities to the university level.

In high school, she was a three-time Manitoba provincial champion in high jump, posting a personal best of 1.70m in Grade 11 and, in one year, she even took home gold in all three jumping disciplines: high jump, long jump and triple jump.

But the community feel of volleyball – the same feel she got when she arrived at Trinity Western for the first time – had her choose the indoor court over the pits.

“I like team sport,” Bazin said. “I didn’t like going to practice by myself when it was raining and jumping into a wet pit of sand.”

Since arriving in Langley, she, nor Hofer, has regretted their decision for a second.

Statistically, she has steadily improved – earning 0.55 blocks per set overall in her first year, 0.92 blocks per set overall in her second year and 1.08 blocks per set overall in her third year – and now, in her fourth year she’s has full intentions to better those number once again.

And if she does so, that won’t be “by chance.”

Last Updated: 2012-01-20
Author: Mark Janzen