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Captain of her 'Domin'

by Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor

Photos: Buffalo State Athletics

Buffalo State University sophomore Riley Domin is used to putting in the work. The sophomore doesn’t have a lot of free time during the fall and winter semesters at Buffalo State as she is either playing volleyball or suiting up for the basketball team.

It’s nothing new for Domin since she has been doing it since her high school days at Williamsville South High School. The only difference between high school and college in the transition.

Domin’s transition was made a little big harder as she came to Buffalo State during the Covid year. That year was hard on everyone, especially student-athletes. Domin was trying to hget ready for her first volleyball and basket all season, not knowing if they would even play.

Trying to train, and get ready, over the summer not knowing what your season, if you had one, would look like was not an easy situation.

“My freshman year, I was adjusting to the speed of the game and being a college athlete. Since I came in as a Covid freshman whose season got cancelled, my first year of volleyball was not only with my class, but the class under me as well,” stated Domin. “With a big incoming freshman class, unexperienced to college volleyball, and being a setter, I was put into leadership role and worked hard to transition into a college athlete.”

Domin got through her first full year of college athletics and progressed so much, especially in volleyball, that she was named a captain during her sophomore season. Bering named a captain is a great honor, just inn general. To be able to be named captain as an underclassmen means a little more.

It means the coaches have seen something in her during her first couple of years on the team. It has allowed her to grow as a person, and leader, and given the extra confidence that she can succeed on the volleyball court.

“My sophomore season, I feel like I progressed in terms of my leadership skills more so than my physical skills,” stated Domin. “Being named a captain with two upperclassman, I progressed in terms of my communication and leadership skills on and off the court.”

Domin is the first to tell you that being a starter in either sport that she plays is great. But, that’s not the end all to be all. While she is a starter during the volleyball season, Domin comes off the bench during the basketball season.

Whether she is playing every minute or every game, or watching her teammates succeed while she is rooting them on from the ben ch, Domin knows it’s all about being a good captain. Being able to go through some adversity in either sport has made Domin a better captain.

She is in the unique spot of being able to understand what all her teammates are going through. She understands what the starts are going through during volleyball season, and she can relate to those who might not get a lot of playing time, because she isn’t a starter on the basketball team.

“Starting in either sport has never been a top priority for me. Being a starter in volleyball was great, but being a good captain and teammate was even better. Not being a starter in basketball has only made me a better captain,” stated Domin. “Since I get solid playing time in volleyball, it doesn’t seem like I can relate to the players who don’t get as much playing time, but I can. I know what it is like to be both a player who gets lot of playing time and one who isn’t always guaranteed playing. I feel like knowing both sides has helped me gain a new perspective to share with those who might also not get a lot of playing time and help them stay motivated and keep their love for the game going.”

Another way she is able to have love for the sport she plays is the fact she is able to play with her older sister, Haley. They have been playing together since they could remember. And, to be able to do it at the college level is even more special.

They root each other on, and are both each others biggest fans. It also makes the experience for both of them that much more enjoyable.

“Playing with my sister, not only in high school but in college, has been one of the best things. My sister is not only my teammate, but my biggest fan. She is the first one to high five me and the first one to tell me good job,” stated Domin. “When I score, get a steal, or just play good defense, she is the loudest person in the gym! I love playing with my sister and that fact that I have been able to do that throughout high school and college has been one of the best experiences and will be one of my favorite memories.”

Domin is used to making to plays on the court. In volleyball , Domin is the setter, the point guard for the offense. She needs to make sure she is able to get the pass exactly right, and be able to pick out the right option all the time.

In hoops, Domin is running the point. When she gets in the game, she tries not to do too much. She knows he offense needs to run through her. Her court awareness is key to making the right play art the right time.

“Being a guard and a setter are the same in the sense that they like to create for their teammates,” stated Domin. “When I set, I am setting up my hitters to get a kill, in basketball, I try to create and generate good shots for my teammates. Getting assists in both volleyball and basketball are more important to me than getting my own points.”

Playing both sports is not an easy task. In high school is was probably easier because there isn’t much expected on a daily basis. High School practices are a little easier in terms of what is being taught.

In college, that changes 10 fold. Not only is there practice to worry about, but also the weight room and school to go on top of it. It can get a little daunting at times for a lot of student-athletes as they try manage everything at once.

:”Playing sports in college is not easy, but luckily, being involved in sports has taught me qualities like time management, focus, and hard work that helps me in school. Being an athlete, we have required study hall hours and are required to have a certain GPA in order to be eligible, therefore we have to focus on school in order to be able to play,” stated Domin. “Playing two sports back to back is difficult but the practice times are the same for both sports, which makes it a smooth adjustment in terms of finding a routine to balance my school work between two seasons. I keep a detailed planner with me so I know what school work I have to get done by which dates to stay on top of my work so I can focus on my practices and games without having to worry about missing assignments.”

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