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Friday, January 28, 2022
The independent student publication of The Unversity at Buffalo, since 1950

Who shines brightest? The top 5 athletes at UB

A look into the most talented and decorated athletes at the Queen City school

Junior guard Dyaisha Fair (2) was named first-team All-MAC as a sophomore.
Junior guard Dyaisha Fair (2) was named first-team All-MAC as a sophomore.

Dyaisha Fair (Junior guard, women’s basketball)

Dyaisha Fair made an immediate impact as a freshman for the women’s basketball team. She averaged 22 points, 5.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.8 steals per game and landed in the top-10 in nine statistical categories on UB’s single-season record list. Fair was named Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year and was honored as MAC East Player of the Week four times during her rookie campaign.

The 5-foot-5 guard followed up her record-breaking freshman season with an even more dominant sophomore campaign. Fair’s numbers improved to 24.1 points, six rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.9 steals per game. She became the fastest player in program history and 14th fastest in Division I women’s basketball history to score 1,000 career points, doing so in just 44 career games. Fair ranked sixth in the nation in scoring, recorded the program’s first triple-double in nearly two decades and earned first-team All-MAC and first-team All-Defensive Team honors. 

Jeenathan Williams (Senior forward, men’s basketball)

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Senior forward Jeenathan Williams (11) is the highest-ranked recruit in men’s basketball history.

Unlike Fair, it took Jeenathan Williams some time to grow into a dominant player. He came off the bench for all 36 games of his freshman campaign in 2018, averaging 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. The Rochester native found his way into the starting lineup the next two years, and has steadily improved each season. Williams was named second-team All-MAC as a junior, leading the Bulls in scoring with 17.6 points per game, including an impressive 26 points in the 2020 MAC Semifinals. 

Williams and the Bulls have gotten off to a 4-3 start in the 2021-22 season, with the star forward leading the team with 19.4 points per game. The Bulls have had some rough endings to games, losing two-of-three contests by less than three points, but once conference play begins, Williams will look to lead the way and close out his senior campaign with a MAC title. 

Marcy Barberic (Graduate midfielder, women’s soccer)

The Grand Island native made an immediate impact upon her arrival at UB, earning All-Freshman Team honors. She built off strong freshman and sophomore campaigns with a dominant junior season, leading the Bulls in goals (six), points (15) and shots (62) and going a perfect 4-for-4 on penalty kicks. Barberic was named second-team All-MAC and third-team All-Midwest Region honors for her strong efforts. 

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Graduate student midfielder/forward Marcy Barberic (11) became the first player in program history to earn second-team All-American honors.

During the 2020-21 season, Barberic posted the best and most impressive season of her collegiate career. In a shortened season due to COVID-19, she led the Bulls with nine goals and one assist on 39 shots. Her impressive statistics weren’t just team-based, as she led the nation in shots on goal per game (2.88) while also leading the MAC and ranking third in the nation in goals per game (1.2) and second in shots per game (4.88). She was named MAC Offensive Player of the Year and earned United Soccer Coaches All-Midwest Region First Team honors. 

The women’s soccer team ended the 2021-22 season with a 13-4-3 record, falling in the MAC Semifinals to Bowling Green. Barberic — now a graduate student — led the way with 10 goals and five assists along with 63 shots.

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Toni Naccarella (Senior freestyle swimmer, women’s swimming and diving)

The UB swimming program had been a consistent contender in the past, but when Toni Naccarella joined the team in 2018, the Bulls’ freestyle relay race numbers saw a major jump. Prior to coming to UB, Naccarella swam for Penfield High School in Rochester, where she set school records in 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 200 free relay, 400 free relay and 400 medley relay. She also won the state title in the 50 freestyle event, the same event she participates in now for UB.

She won her first gold medal with UB in the 50 freestyle at the MAC Championships as well silver medals in four other races, which earned her first-team All-MAC honors during her sophomore season. In the 2020-21 campaign, when the swimming and diving team won its first ever MAC championship, Naccarella led the way by securing seven gold medals. On top of her impressive medal count, she was the first UB swimmer to qualify for the NCAA Championships. She currently holds two school records — the 200 medley relay and 200 freestyle relay — and is leading the way for the team to potentially win another championship in her senior season. 

Anna Aguon (Graduate utility player, women’s softball) 

It’s not easy to be successful in an outdoor sport when the team is based in Buffalo, but Anna Aguon has proven it’s possible. The Vancouver, WA native made an immediate impact in 2018 when she was named first-team All-MAC and to the All-Freshman Team, posting a .359 batting average to go along with seven home runs and 36 runs. Aguon has missed just one game over four years of her collegiate career and has consistently been a home run hitter. She’s been named first team All-MAC every season she’s been eligible. 

The 2020-21 season was the most dominant of her career, as she earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Mideast Region First Team honors after recording a .392 batting average to go with a team-high 60 hits, 14 home runs and 42 runs scored. Her 60 hits and 14 home runs rank second on the program’s single-season records list. The dominant home run hitter is returning to the team this season as a graduate student and will look to capture her fourth straight All-MAC first team honor in just five years with the program. 

Hunter Skoczylas is the assistant sports editor and can be reached at hunter.skoczylas@ubspectrum.com or @HunterSkoczylas on Twitter 


HUNTER SKOCZYLAS

Hunter Skoczylas is the sports editor for The Spectrum. In his free time, he can be found looking up random sports statistics, jamming to Fleetwood Mac and dedicating his Sunday afternoons to watching the Buffalo Bills. 

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