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Niagara once again spikes tourney competition

For the second time this season, Niagara returns from a road trip with a women's volleyball tournament title.

The Purple Eagles defeated Robert Morris and Coppin State in four games Saturday to win the Red Flash Invitational hosted by St. Francis (Pa.) in Loretto, Pa.

"It feels good. We got the job done," Niagara coach Rocco Lucci said. "We didn't play real well, but we played a lot of players."

Niagara won Navy's tournament, the Trident Classic Tournament, in Annapolis, Md., earlier this month.

With an 8-5 record, Niagara has already surpassed its win total from last year. The Purple Eagles went 7-17 in 2004.

Raeleen Rush (Sweet Home) had 14 kills in each match for the Purple Eagles. Stephanie Hopkins (Sweet Home) had 23 kills on the day and 15 digs against Robert Morris.

Meanwhile, at the Sheraton/Penn Invitational in Philadelphia, Canisius handed Pepperdine its only lost game of the tournament before bowing to the Waves in four games. The Griffs took a 28-26 lead in the first game of the match then closed it out on kills by freshmen Brittany Gerde and Morgan Ammons. The Griffs (5-9) closed the tournament with a three-game loss to Towson. Aislinn Hayes had 15 kills and 12 digs on the day, while Sarah Podlesh had 23 digs.

In Mid-American Conference play, the University at Buffalo fell to 0-2 with a three-game loss at Ohio. The Bulls, who dropped to 7-7 overall, hit just .130 for the match. Katie Weekley had 10 kills for UB. Lizaiha Garcia had 18 digs, while Amy Brown had 27 assists and 19 digs.

Elsewhere, Kristy Gonciarz (Maryvale) had six kills, while Laura Stranc (West Seneca West) had 14 assists for Hilbert in a three-game loss to Point Park. The Hawks (1-10) also dropped a three-game match to Bethany. . . . Medaille split its matches at the Pepsi Bash at the Beach in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Mavs (4-12) defeated Florida Memorial in three games, while losing to St. Thomas in three. Kim Braunscheidel (Kenmore West) was named to the all-tournament team after having 55 digs on the day. . . . Buffalo State (0-18, 0-4) was swept, 3-0, by Fredonia and Oswego in SUNYAC pool play in Geneseo. Keri Bumgardner had 11 kills and Nicole Gurski (Williamsville North) had 16 assists in the first match for the Bengals. Bumgardner registered seven kills against Oswego. . . . Diana Connell (North Tonawanda) had six kills as D'Youville (6-7, 1-0) swept Cazenovia, 3-0, in a North Eastern Athletic Conference match for its fourth straight win.

MEN'S SOCCER: Junior Rafael Venturini scored his first goal of the season on a direct kick in the 89th minute, but Niagara still dropped a 3-1 decision to Oneonta. Eric Sullivan stopped eight shots for the Purple Eagles (2-4-1). . . . Freshman Chris Griffiths (Iroquois) scored three goals as visiting Medaille beat the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, 6-1, in its Alleghany Mountain Conference opener. Medaille (8-1-1) has won eight straight.

WOMEN'S SOCCER: Hilbert (2-4) opened its Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference schedule with a 2-1 loss to LaRoche of Pittsburgh. Goalkeeper Kelly Goodwin (Niagara Falls) made six saves for the Hawks. . . . Casey Kelly (Iroquois) had the only goal for Daemen (4-5, 0-2) in a 3-1 loss to Saint Vincent (Pa.) in the American Mideast Conference. . . . Medaille (6-2) dropped a 3-0 decision to Pitt-Greensburg.

CROSS COUNTRY: UB's men finished 10th among 17 teams while the women were seventh out of 16 teams at the Penn State Spiked Shoe Invitational. Jen Jezorski was 15 among 201 runners for the Bulls in the women's race. Dan Giza (Lancaster) led UB in the men's race, placing 40 among 189. . . . Erie Community College placed fourth at the Houghton Invitational. Alistair Stewart (Timon/St. Jude) placed 15th, running the five-mile course in 27:37.

GOLF: St. Bonaventure and Niagara were tied for sixth place at 602 after two rounds of the Cornell Invitational at the Robert Trent Jones Course in Ithaca. Chris Agostinelli of the Purple Eagles shot 72-74-146 to stand in sixth place. Josh Anderson and Andy Whalen of St. Bonaventure shot identical 72-76-148s. Saint Joseph's leads the tournament with 574, and the Hawks' Billy Stewart is the individual leader with 63-71-134.

WOMEN'S TENNIS: Niagara's Danielle Grenier and Julianne Prokopich defeated St. Bonaventure's Anna Perevenzetseva and Ana Delgado, 7-4, at No. 1 doubles in the Niagara Regional Tournament on Monteagle Ridge.

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