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College Power 10: Daemen spikers make NCAA Tourney

The Daemen College women’s volleyball team earned an at-large berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament.

The team becomes the first Daemen squad to reach a Division II national event. Daemen just moved up to full-fledged D-II status last year. Daemen leads this week’s College Power 10.

1. Daemen women’s volleyball. The Wildcats will host the eight-team East Regional Dec. 1-3. Daemen (23-7) earned the No. 2 seed and will face No. 7 seed Post University (26-5) in the opening match. The winner of the regional advances to the NCAA Elite Eight event at Sioux Falls, S.D.

The No. 1 seed is defending region champion New York Institute of Technology (28-5), which beat Daemen in the final of the East Coast Conference tournament last week. Daemen is 1-2 vs. NYIT this season and 4-4 against NCAA Tournament teams.

“This is a great accomplishment for our team, especially considering we have just two seniors on the roster,” said Daemen coach Stephanie Albano. “We are doubly excited to have been awarded the hosting bid.”

Albano, who starred at Lancaster High and then the University of North Carolina, is in her first year as Daemen coach.

The Wildcats are led by sophomore outside hitter Ashley Drzymala (St. Mary's of Lancaster), the ECC Player of the Year, who is one of just three players in the ECC to top 300 kills and 300 digs this season. She has 399 kills. Her sister, senior outside hitter Amber Drzymala (St. Mary’s of Lancaster), has 348 kills and was first-team all-ECC. Freshman setter Bailey Dolegowski (St. Mary's of Lancaster) was named the ECC Co-Rookie of the Year. She leads all ECC players with 1,072 assists.

2. University at Buffalo women’s basketball. UB stayed undefeated (4-0) Tuesday with a big non-conference win at Duquesne, which made the NCAA Tournament last year as an at-large team and was picked for second this year in the Atlantic 10.

3. UB wrestling. Colt Cotton and James Benjamin won individual titles at the New York State Intercollegiate Championships at Ithaca. Cotton was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler after taking the 149-pound class. Benjamin won at 197. The showing came a day after UB almost upset seventh-ranked Cornell, losing 18-15.

4. Buffalo State hockey. The Bengals (4-1-1) rank No. 15 in Division III after weekend victories over Canton by scores of 6-3 and 4-0. Freshman forward Anthony Passero of Fort Erie, Ont., had three assists in each game and leads the team with eight points. He’s one of 12 Canadians on the roster.

5. Daemen men’s basketball. The Wildcats are off to a 3-0 start after a 77-64 win over St. Edwards of Texas. Daemen coach Mike MacDonald is one win shy of 300 for his career. Aleks Miljenovic posted a double-double with career-highs 21 points and 12 rebounds. Deion Hamilton scored 18 points and played a large role in limiting SEU's leading scorer Ramir Burton (Niagara Falls) to just eight points.

6. Niagara CCC men’s basketball. The Thunderwolves (6-2) are off to a strong start after an 87-83 overtime win over Potomac State College of West Virginia. Potomac State opened the season No. 20 in the nation among Division II junior colleges. The Thunderwolves are averaging 87.4 ppg and are led by 6-foot-5 freshman guard Donel Cathcart (O’Hara) at 18.3 ppg.

7. Niagara CCC women’s basketball. The Thunderwolves (6-0) are averaging 85.8 ppg. Among the top scorers are Peyton Butts (Jamestown) 11.7 ppg, Taliyah Hopkins (Cheektowaga) 11.7 ppg and Neraelyn Truehart (Sweet Home) 10.3 ppg.

8. Buffalo State men’s basketball. Senior guard Lovell Smith (McKinley) averaged 22.7 points and 11.7 rebounds to lead the Bengals to a 3-0 start.

9. Buffalo State women’s basketball. Sophomore forward Princella McCullough, a transfer from Division II Mansfield, averaged 17 points and 17.3 rebounds to help the Bengals win two of their first three.

10. Erie CC men’s basketball. The Kats improved to 5-1 with a 76-55 win over Henry Ford CC. Leading Erie are sophomores Jonathan Pozo at 23.2 ppg and Bri’an Brown (Middle Early College) at 18.8 ppg. The Erie CC and Niagara CCC teams don’t meet until February.

Email: mgaughan@buffnews.com

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