GNAC Insider Podcast: VanValey, Balog, Kuenzi
Montana State Billings head men's soccer coach Alex Balog with seven-year old Sebastien Easton, taking the team's ceremonial kick-off for the MSUB Kicks Cancer match.
Montana State Billings head men's soccer coach Alex Balog with seven-year old Sebastien Easton, taking the team's ceremonial kick-off for the MSUB Kicks Cancer match.

Monday, October 26, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. – Episode 72 of GNAC Insider aired Tuesday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. PT. Joining the program was Northwest Nazarene outside hitter Taylor VanValey, Montana State Billings head men's soccer coach Alex Balog and Western Oregon linebacker Shane Kuenzi.

VanValey is a senior right-side hitter for the Northwest Nazarene volleyball team. She has 161 kills this season and 75 blocks. The Crusaders are coming off one of their best weekends of the season, after sweeping No. 11-ranked Western Washington and defeating Simon Fraser 3-1 on the road. VanValey had nine kills and six blocks against WWU and a team-high 15 kills against SFU. The Crusaders this season are tied for first place in the GNAC with a 10-2 conference record and are receiving votes in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top-25. VanValey is a four-year player for the Crusaders and is also a All-GNAC and All-West Region honoree in track and field as a thrower. VanValey spoke about the road victory over Western Washington, why she chose to attend Northwest Nazarene as a Washington native, playing six of eight games at home and being a dual athlete as a track and field thrower.

Balog is in his third year as Montana State Billings head men’s soccer coach and his fifth year overall with the program. This season, the Yellowjackets are in the thick of the conference standings, sitting in third place with a 6-3-2 conference record and 20 points. With four matches remaining and the top-five teams within seven points, every match is important down the stretch for Balog and the Yellowjackets. The team hosted their MSUB Kicks Cancer match against Concordia on Saturday, Oct. 17, in which they honored former teammate Trevor Wildberger, who passed away in August after a battle with cancer. The Yellowjackets also honored their seven-year old teammate, Sebastien Easton, who is in a continuing fight with cancer. The Yellowjackets honored both well, with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory that day. Balog spoke about Ricardo Palomino's record year for MSUB, the team's Kick Cancer match and the parity in men's soccer this season.

Kuenzi is a senior linebacker for the Western Oregon football team. He leads the GNAC in solo tackles (50) and forced fumbles (3) and is second in the conference in total tackles (77). Kuenzi is one of the leaders of the Wolves’ defense that is third in the GNAC in scoring (26.4 ppg allowed). Western Oregon is second in the conference standings with a 3-1 GNAC record and 5-3 overall. They have won four games in a row, outscoring opponents 134-97 over that stretch. As a junior, Kuenzi was a Second Team All-GNAC selection with 65 total tackles, 2.5 sacks and five pass breakups. As a sophomore, he had 105 total tackles and was a First Team All-GNAC selection. Kuenzi spoke about how football has changed for him in his senior year, the defense's ability to end games in the fourth quarter and the upcoming game against reigning GNAC champions Azusa Pacific. 

GNAC Insider is hosted by Rob Lowery airing live at 7 p.m. Pacific every Tuesday and is produced by the conference office. All episodes become available as free podcasts via iTunes. To listen to archived episodes go to GNAC.TV.