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UNBC honours athletes

Franco Kouagnia was a force to be reckoned with on the floor for UNBC's men's basketball squad in the 2014-15 season. The performance by the six-foot-seven 250-pound fifth-year forward where he averaged 16.4 points per game and 7.

Franco Kouagnia was a force to be reckoned with on the floor for UNBC's men's basketball squad in the 2014-15 season.

The performance by the six-foot-seven 250-pound fifth-year forward where he averaged 16.4 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game helped lead the Timberwolves to a 12-8 regular season record and their first-ever playoff appearance in the Explorer Division of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport Canada West Conference.

Kouagnia, who will graduate this spring with an economics degree, was named UNBC's male athlete of the year Friday night at the Timberwolves' annual awards ceremony.

"It (the award) wasn't very expected," said Kouagnia who credited his teammates for the success he had during the season. "Basketball is a team sport. Many of us stayed behind last summer to train and it was a very fun adventure.

"We leave here having made some history. It just proved that if we worked hard, and wanted to reach our goal and the guys gave it their best, the results would come."

Kouagnia, who was recruited to join the squad three years ago from Cameroon, also shot an impressive 51 per cent from the field as the Timberwolves finished second in the Explorer Division and were the fifth seed overall in the playoffs.

The other nominee for male athlete of the year was Ty Venhola, the goalkeeper for the men's soccer team.

Third-year forward Sydney Roy from the women's soccer side was named the school's female athlete of the year.

During the 2014 campaign, the five-foot-eight environmental engineering student from Burnaby broke a previous school record for goals in a season when she netted her sixth goal in the T-wolves final match of the season against Thompson Rivers University.

Fifth-year forward Sarah Robin was the other nominee for female athlete of the year.

"It's an honour to be here and an overwhelming feeling," said Roy, who also credited her teammates. "Sarah is an excellent athlete as well. I'm pleased and happy. We have so many people on our team who always pushed us to succeed."

Roy's six-goal season ranks sixth in Canada West and seventh in goals per game. She set a new team record and new university record for goals scored in a season and was responsible for 66 per cent of Timberwolves goals this season.

Roy was named female rookie of the year in 2013 and is the currently the all-time female goal scorer at UNBC with 13 goals in three seasons.

Roy will transfer to UBC this fall to complete her environmental engineering degree, while Kouagnia will return to Europe and turn professional.

Rookie of the year awards were handed out to male and female athletes who are in their first-year of eligibility and stand above in their athletic achievements over the past year.

Vasiliki Louka from the women's basketball team was named female rookie of the year.

Louka, a six-foot-one forward from Athens, Greece averaged 11.4 points per game and ranked fifth in Canada West with 8.4 rebounds per game.

She also proved to be quite valuable to the T-wolves, starting 19 of 20 games and averaging 30-plus minutes per game.

Francesco Bartolillo was named male rookie of the year after his stand-out performance with the men's soccer team.

Bartolillo, a five-foot-eight midfielder from Calgary joined the team last season after excelling in the Alberta Provincial Team program as part of the Prairies National Training Centre for the Canadian Soccer Association.

The Timberwolves also recognized Sonny Pawar, the assistant coach for the men's soccer team.

Pawar has been part of the men's soccer program since its debut in the college league. After six years at the helm, Pawar agreed to stay on as an assistant to help head coach Alan Alderson with the transition to Canada West.

For his nine years of dedication, Pawar was presented with a jersey signed by alumni of the program and current players.

Individual team awards were also handed out Friday night. They included:

Men's soccer

Defensive Player of the Year

- Ty Venhola

Most Outstanding Player - Ty Venhola

Rookie of the Year - Francesco Bartolillo

Attacking Player of the Year / Golden Boot Award Winner - Brandon Wallace

Coaches Award (Most Inspirational Award) - Brett Bobier and Luke Holmes

Women's soccer

Most Outstanding Player

- Fiona Raymond

Best Offensive Player - Sidney Roy

Best Defensive Player

- Fiona Raymond

Green and Gold - Tianna Pius

Women's basketball

Most Outstanding Player - Sarah Robin

Most improved - Emily Aase

Rookie of the Year - Vasiliki Louka

Most Inspiration Player

- Kellianne Fluit

Men's basketball

Rookie of the year - Vaggelis Loukas

Best Defensive Player - Jeff Chu, Rhys Elliott - co-winners

Most Outstanding Player - Franco Kouagnia

Zane Robson Award - Jeff Chu

Most Inspiration Player - Nolan Hanson