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Journal-Press Internet Sports & School - September 14, 2017
Rob LaPlante

Journal-Press Sports Editor Rob LaPlante may be reached by phone at 763-682-1221 or click here to email him

Bison hockey player commits to the Gophers

Ryan Chev eCouponsBy Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

The much anticipated wait is over.

Buffalo sophomore Jake Braccini announced last week, via his Twitter page, that he has committed to play Division-I college hockey at the University of Minnesota.

Braccini has yet to play a varsity game, but his dominance at the bantam level had scouts drooling.

This past May, Braccini was named the 2017 Youth Hockey Hub's Bantam Player of the Year Award. He is just the fifth player to win the prestigious honor since its inception in 2013. All four previous winners have committed or played for Division-I programs.

Including Braccini, three of the five past winners, which also includes 2013 winner Ryan Zuhlsdorf of Edina and 2014 winner Casey Mittelstadt of Eden Prairie are also Gopher products.

Gavin Hain (2015) of Grand Rapids and Ethan Frisch (2016) of Moorhead were the other two winners. Both players are University of North Dakota commits.

The Gophers were not the only team Braccini had offers from. After a couple of different visits, he decided to take the advice of his father.

"My dad told me, 'now if you make a decision, I don't want you looking back and saying I wish I did that,' so I chose where my heart was, and that's being a Gopher," Braccini said. "I visited another (unnamed) school to be sure to try and have an open mind on things. When I visited the U of M, it was just an automatic no-brainer for me."

Although Braccini isn't NHL draft eligible until he turns 18, both Zuhlsdorf and Mittelstadt are both Gopher draft picks. Zuhlsdorf was a 2015 fifth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Mittelstadt was the No. 8 overall selection in the first round this past summer by the Buffalo Sabres.

Braccini knows that he's a few seasons away from worrying about any future as a professional player, but the NHL is something he's someday striving for.

"The NHL Draft is something I've always watched as a kid," he said. "It would be a dream to be drafted by an organization in such a high-end league. That would be a huge step."

Joey Martin, a 2000 graduate of Buffalo High School, was the last and only other Bison boys' hockey player to skate at the U of M. He was drafted out of high school in the sixth round of the 2000 draft by the Chicago Blackhawks. Martin played for the Gophers from 2000-2004 and won back-to-back national championships in 2002, 2003.

Nobody would tell by Braccini's demeanor that he's already achieved so many high accolades.

"I don't really see it as ranking me up in the community, because of how many good players there are in this great state at my level," he said. "I see it as me taking a bigger step towards success."


Habisch sparks 38-13 home win

Junior's touchdown run ignited the home team, and its home crowd

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

On a night where the final scoreboard indicated a blowout, a 38-13 Bison football home win last Friday over St. Francis needed an initial spark.

Junior running back Riley Habisch provided just that.

Habisch's 56-yard rushing score with 3:46 left in the first half gave Buffalo a 7-6 lead after senior kicker Danika Tweten converted the point after attempt.

In a first half that featured very little offense from either team, it was St. Francis kicker Hunter Dustman making headlines prior to Habisch's run.

Dustman's 45-yard field goal was the only scoring in the opening quarter. He later gave the Fighting Saints a 6-0 lead with a 51-yard conversion with 6:27 left in the half.

With Dustman and the Fighting Saints quieting the large Bison Field West crowd, Habisch had everyone on their feet when he busted the second play of the drive down the sidelines for his second score in as many weeks.

"It was a huge play," said head coach Todd Bouman. "We were just struggling on the offensive side, whether it was missing guys in the passing game or not picking someone up on the blitz. We were not very good offensively in the first half tonight."

Habisch would finish the night with 104 yards on 16 carries. He had 122 yards in Buffalo's 30-23 loss at Brainerd.

"That run got our momentum going," said senior defensive lineman Ryan Kluver. "Once we got the first touchdown, we just kept rolling."

The momentum rolled into Buffalo's final possession of the first half when a trick play gave the Bison a 13-6 lead at the break.

With 1:31 left, Buffalo sophomore quarterback Aidan Bouman tossed a backward lateral pass to junior wide receiver Treyton Welch, who then found junior wide receiver Joe McNamara wide open for a 42-yard score.

"I just rolled out to the right," Welch said. "I was going to run, but then I saw Joe doing jumping jacks in the backfield, so I threw it to him. It was awesome."

It was the first career varsity passing score for Welch, who is usually on the receiving end of big plays rather than setting them up.

Welch would eventually find paydirt when Bouman converted a fourth and two play that Welch stretched into a 13-yard score giving Buffalo a 19-6 lead with 2:12 left in the third quarter.

St. Francis kept things interesting when quarterback Trevor Patterson snuck down the left side for a 21-yard score with 26 seconds left in quarter three, cutting Buffalo's lead to 19-13. 

"That run by Patterson was our longest play of the season so far," said first-year St. Francis head coach Brent Swaggert, a 1999 Buffalo graduate.

Struggling to find its identity, St. Francis switched quarterbacks twice in the same game and leading rusher Luke Lipinski was held to just 34 yards on 12 carries.

 "We're a run-first team. If we can't establish the line of scrimmage, we're going to struggle. Buffalo has some big-strong and physical guys that we struggled blocking and being physical with. If there is a silver lining, playing teams like this helps us to know what it takes to play hard-nosed football – credit to Buffalo."

Kluver was just one of a number of standout Buffalo players on the defensive side of the ball.

"We had a few injuries, but I'm so proud of the defense," Kluver said. "We held them to one touchdown. It was just a great night altogether."

The Patterson score would be the last for St. Francis, but Buffalo was just heating up.

The first play of the fourth quarter resulted in a 25-yard TD connection from Bouman to Welch. With two defenders on Welch, Bouman threw a jump ball to the back of the end zone. Welch leaped high and snared the ball for his third receiving touchdown of the season.

Bouman would toss his third passing TD of the game on a shovel pass to senior fullback Tannor Schiller from 2-yards out, giving Buffalo a 32-13 lead with 4:43 left in regulation.

After a rocky start in which Bouman tossed two first-quarter interceptions, Buffalo's quarterback ended the night 13-of-23 passing for 208 yards and three scores.

"That's part of the game," said Coach Bouman, not overly concerned about the early-season turnovers. "You learn from them, but you have to move on. There's been a game where I threw four interceptions in the first quarter before. It's part of playing the position."

Ironically, Aidan Bouman's QB rating was only second best in the game, as Welch converted late in the game on another long passing play to an open McNamara. Welch ended the night 2-2 passing for 88 yards and one TD.

The 46-yard trick play was followed by a 35-yard run by Schiller, who scored his second touchdown of the game two plays later on a 1-yard score.

With a lot of offensive heroes, Coach Bouman credited his defense for stepping up when things looked bleak.

"The defense was awesome tonight," he said. "As ugly as the offense was in the first half, I told the guys that it was only a one-score game."



Week three for Buffalo (1-1) features a showdown with the defending Class 5A state champion Elk River Elks (2-0).

The road game is unique in that it's the only scheduled contest for Buffalo on a grass surface. The Elks high-powered Wing-T deceptive running game is one that Buffalo has struggled with over the years.

Kluver hesitated a bit, but then smiled at the thought of trying to defend Elk River's high-powered offense.

"I think we can do anything we want if we keep the momentum going," he said. "If we play like we did tonight, we can beat anyone we want."

Buffalo put up a decent fight a year ago in a 63-21 loss at Elk River. The Elks don't return nearly the same firepower, but their system and personal has shown early this year the same big-play capability. 

"Anytime you're an athlete, you have to thrive on situations where you have a chance to play the best," Coach Bouman said. "If you can't get excited playing the state champs, there's something wrong."



* Senior linebacker Jaiden Russell and senior Alan Hernandez left last Friday's game early with injuries. Hernandez's injury didn't appear serious. Russell suffered a shoulder injury that could sideline him.

* Riley Habisch became the first Bison running back to rush for back-to-back 100-yard games since Hunter Thompson ran for 178 yards Oct. 16, 2013 at Duluth East and 140 yards Oct. 22, 2013 at Willmar.

* For the first time, Bison Field West featured a live video run by students that appeared on the scoreboard. * The game also featured the Bison Cheerleaders, a halftime scrimmage with the Junior Bison Football teams, and Buffalo FFA selling fresh sweet corn grown from the school's garden.

"It was a fun night," Welch said. "It's always fun to have the town come out and support us. It puts a rush of adrenaline in us and keeps us going."


Buffalo 38, St. Francis 13

(Friday, Sept. 8 at Buffalo)

St. Francis           3     3     0     7    –   13

Buffalo           0   13     6   19    –   38


First quarter

SF -- Hunter Dustman 45 field goal, 5:59.

Second quarter

SF -- Dustman 51 field goal, 6:27

B -- Riley Habisch 56 run (Danika Tweten kick) 3:46

B -- Joe McNamara 42 pass from Treyton Welch (kick failed) 1:31.

Third quarter

B -- Welch 13 pass from Aidan Bouman (kick failed) 2:12

SF -- Trevor Patterson 21 run (Dustman kick) 0:26.

Fourth quarter

B -- Welch 25 pass from Bouman (2-pt. pass conversion failed) 11:01

B -- Tannor Schiller 2 pass from Bouman (Tweten kick) 4:43

B -- Schiller 1 run (kick failed) 2:34.

Individual stats:

Fighting Saints leaders:

Passing – Sam Miller 7-11--111.Charlie Geraets 1-1--45.

Rushing – Geraets 27-170, 2 TD; Miller 19-15, 2 TD; Max Zimmerman 5-13; Will Lundstrom 1-1; Pat Gervenak 1-0.

Receiving – Max Boran 4-95; Gervenak 2-42; Mike Bostrom 1-11; Zimmerman 1-(-2).

Tackles -- N/A. Brady Anderson (2 INT); Nate Bessingpas (fumble recovery).

Bison leaders:

Passing – Aidan Bouman 13-23--207, 3 TD, 2 INT; Treyton Welch 2-2--88, TD.

Rushing – Riley Habisch 16-104, TD, Tannor Schiller 5-34, TD; Treyton Welch 1-15; Zach Phillips 3-8; Aidan Bouman 3-(-16).

Receiving – Welch 6-138, 2 TD; Joe McNamara 5-127, TD; Tannor Schiller 2-18, TD; Jack Munsterteiger 1-8; Jacob Muhich 1-6.

Tackles – Dustin Sarvie 8 (sack); Ryan Kluver 7 (sack, forced fumble), Jaiden Russell 7; John Gaughan 6; Alan Hernandez 5; Tannor Schiller 5; Zach Phillips 4; Tristan Eull 3; Daunte Mattila 3 (2 sacks); Treyton Welch 2; Trevor Johnson 2; Tony Dahl 2; Jack Munsterteiger 2; Ty Zwack 2; Ethan Bursch 2; Joe McNamara 1; Joey Farniok 1; Michael Tweten 1; Jackson Reay 1; Carter Jerde 1.



Slovak gives Bison lethal exchange

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Nearly 5,000 miles away from home, Simona Potockova is still adjusting to life in the United States.

In late August, Potockova left her hometown of Nová Dubnica, Slovakia to spend a year as a foreign exchange student in the U.S.

Not knowing where her destination would take her, she found out in mid-August that Suzanne and Del Smith of Hanover would be her host family.

"She's an only child, so for her to come over here for her senior year and take a chance at a country she's never been to takes great courage," said Bison head coach Scott Larsen.

While Potockova is getting accustomed to her new surroundings, the game of tennis is anything but foreign to her.

"We play club tennis is Slovakia, because they don't have high school teams like they do here," she said.

It didn't take long for Potockova to impress Bison coaches and teammates with her skill-set. She immediately was inserted into the top-singles spot and her first career match with the Bison resulted in a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 1 singles over Anna Ritchie of Becker.

Potockova currently owns a perfect 7-0 record, where she has yet to lose a set.

"She's been such a great fit," Larsen said. "Obviously, her talent is great and she can hit with the best players on the team, but she's such a sweet kid. She's fit in like she's been with us for four years. The girls have taken her in and she's going to football games. She's one of the Bison now."

Potockova admitted that she didn't know what to expect when she first joined the tennis program.

"I was so scared that I wouldn't fit in and be good enough," she said. "But the first practice was awesome. Everyone treated me great."

Despite her skill level, it's highly unlikely that Potockova will be ranked individually being relatively an unknown commodity.

That could change, though, when Buffalo faces some stiffer competition down the stretch.

A potential showdown in the regular-season finale Sept. 30 at Elk River could matchup Potockova against Elk River senior Meagan Brown, ranked No. 3 in Class AA. Princeton's Kelsey Dorr is a state participant and could also be another top challenge on Sept. 28.

"She's going to have a chance at a couple decent players," Larsen said. "Maple Grove and Wayzata also have some strong players, so there will be some good players in the section to get buy if she's going to make state."

It's probably a good thing her tougher matches come later in the season. Despite her immediate success, Potockova knows she has to make some adjustments.

"State is the goal," she said. "But I am still adjusting. We play on clay at home, so this is really different and new for me – the clay is better for my body."



After suffering a 5-2 loss in the season opener to Hibbing-Chisholm, the Bison have since rattled off 11 straight wins, including back-to-back conference wins over St. Michael-Albertville and Chisago Lakes.

Buffalo won all seven matches in straight sets in Monday's 7-0 home win against the Wildcats. The Bison followed that up with a 6-1 home win Tuesday against the Knights.

It was the first conference loss of the season for STMA. Buffalo and Princeton are tied for first in the Mississippi 8 at 4-0. The Bison have also defeated Rogers and won 7-0 last Thursday at St. Francis.

Outside of STMA, one of Buffalo's biggest wins to date came in a 5-2 victory last Saturday over Rosemount in the Rosemount Tourney.

The Bison went 2-0 in the tourney. They defeated Bloomington Jefferson 7-0 earlier in the day.

"Rosemount beat us up last year, and they have a lot of people back. We played them very tough," Larsen said. "Even though we won 5-2, those were competitive matches. That was one of our strongest matches from top-to-bottom."

Seventh-grader Alaina Lee had the most entertaining match of the tournament. After dropping the first set 7-5 to Tanya Ramesh of Rosemount, Lee rebounded to win the No. 4 singles point 6-4 and 13-11 in a third-set super tiebreaker.

The Bison head into Thursday's 4 p.m. match at Monticello looking to extend their win streak to 12 games.

"I think what we're seeing is we're making little improvements and little adjustments every match," Larsen said. "I still don't think we've seen our best tennis yet. I don't want us peaking now anyways. It's fun to be hungry and find things every match to continue to work on. We have good energy."


Buffalo 7, St. Francis 0

(Tuesday, Sept. 5 at Buffalo)

Singles: No. 1 – Simona Potockova (B) def.  Marlis Green (SF) 6-1, 6-1; No. 2 -- Anna Lee (B) def. Noelle Meyers (SF) 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 -- Emma Carlson (B) def. Jenna Koch (SF) 6-3, 6-2; No. 4 -- Alaina Lee (B) def. Makenna Schadewald (SF) 6-0, 6-1.

Doubles: No. 1 – Claire Stevens & Mya Lubben (B) def. Shelby Reynolds & Sadie Pennebaker (SF) 6-0, 6-1; No. 2 -- Ella Stevens & Ohnica Melenich (B) def. Emma Arnold & Sammy Johnson (SF) 6-3, 6-1; No. 3 -- Cassie McNitt & Hillary Hovland (B) def. Kylie Bergman & Grace Thull (SF) 6-3, 6-2.


Rosemount Tourney

Buffalo 7, Bloomington Jefferson 0

(Saturday, Sept. 9 at Rosemount)

Singles: No. 1 – Simona Potockova (B) def.  Isabelle Lynch (BJ) 6-0, 6-3; No. 2 -- Anna Lee (B) def. Alyssa Do (BJ) 6-2, 6-1; No. 3 -- Emma Carlson (B) def. Rachel Anderson (BJ) 6-1, 6-0; No. 4 -- Alaina Lee (B) def. Alexa Lacher (BJ) 6-2, 6-0.

Doubles: No. 1 – Claire Stevens & Mya Lubben (B) def. Mara McClain & Abby Larson (BJ) 6-0, 6-2; No. 2 -- Cassie McNitt & Ohnica Melenich (B) def. Lainey Walworth & Sae Young Oh (BJ) 6-1, 6-2; No. 3 -- Ella Stevens & Perrin Thompson (B) def. Sae Mee Oh & Marion Rye (BJ) 6-2, 6-1.


Rosemount Tourney

Buffalo 5, Rosemount 2

(Saturday, Sept. 9 at Rosemount)

Singles: No. 1 – Simona Potockova (B) def.  Anna Leary (R) 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 -- Anna Lee (B) def. Sonya Ramesh (R) 6-3, 7-5; No. 3 -- Livia Leary (R) def. Emma Carlson (B) 6-1, 6-1; No. 4 -- Alaina Lee (B) def. Tanya Ramesh (R) 5-7, 6-4, (13-11).

Doubles: No. 1 – Claire Stevens & Mya Lubben (B) def. Rachel Kearns & Julia Vitale (R) 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 -- Ella Stevens & Ohnica Melenich (B) def. Josie McCann & Abbey Sweetman (R) 6-3, 7-5; No. 3 -- Megan Larson & Lillie Rapp (R) def. Cassie McNitt & Hillary Hovland (B) 6-7 (5-7), 7-5, (12-10).


Buffalo 7, Chisago Lakes 0

(Monday, Sept. 11 at Buffalo)

Singles: No. 1 – Simona Potockova (B) def.  Hannah Gillach (CL) 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 -- Anna Lee (B) def. Greta Gillach (CL) 6-1, 6-1; No. 3 -- Emma Carlson (B) def. Malea McKinnon (CL) 6-2, 6-1; No. 4 -- Vanessa Blanchet (B) def. Kari Myhran (CL) 6-2, 6-0.

Doubles: No. 1 – Claire Stevens & Mya Lubben (B) def. Renae Ingalls & Alice Johnson (CL) 6-1, 6-2; No. 2 -- Ella Stevens & Ohnica Melenich (B) def. Julia Leabo & Jill Erickson (CL) 6-3, 6-2; No. 3 -- Cassie McNitt & Alaina Lee (B) def. Claire DeVries & Jenae Carlson (CL) 6-1, 6-4.


Buffalo 6, St. Michael-Albertville 1

(Tuesday, Sept. 12 at Buffalo)

Singles: No. 1 – Simona Potockova (B) def.  Allie Hinz (STMA) 6-1, 6-0; No. 2 -- Anna Lee (B) def. Emma Thole (STMA) 6-1, 6-0; No. 3 -- Brooke Beck (STMA) def. Emma Carlson (B) 7-5, 7-6 (7-2); No. 4 -- Vanessa Blanchet (B) def. Meadow LaDuke (STMA) 6-2, 6-4.

Doubles: No. 1 – Claire Stevens & Mya Lubben (B) def. Brooke Johnson & Ruthie Schutz (STMA) 6-3, 6-1; No. 2 -- Ella Stevens & Cassie McNitt (B) def. Isabella Nardini & Abigail Trenholm (STMA) 6-0, 6-1; No. 3 -- Ohnica Melenich & Alaina Lee (B) def. Gabby Olson & Colette Sinclair (STMA) 6-0, 6-2.


Bison Singles Records

Anna Lee11-0

Simona Potockova7-0

Emma Carlson7-3

Vanessa Blanchet4-2

Alaina Lee4-3

Mya Lubben2-0

Claire Stevens2-0

Nicole McHenry0-1

Gina Miller0-1

Team Totals38-9

Bison Doubles Records

Ella Stevens10-2

Ohnica Melenich9-3

Mya Lubben8-2

Claire Stevens8-2

Cassie McNitt8-4

Perrin Thompson5-0

Alaina Lee3-0

Hillary Hovland2-4

Gina Miller1-1

Team Totals54-18



Buffalo finds win column in M8 play

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Junior Conor Smrz's goal with 32 seconds left in the first half proved to be all the offense Buffalo would need in a 2-0 home soccer win last Thursday over Rogers.

In a first half dominated by Buffalo, it was a miscue by Rogers' goalie Thomas Morrison that allowed Smrz to bounce on a loose ball and fire it into a vacant net.

Buffalo head coach Joe Pokorney felt the fortunate break was overdue.

"We had a lot of chances the last 15-20 minutes of the first half, so it was nice to get paid off for the work we were doing," Pokorney said. "That was a big goal. If they keep us off the scorebook, we're not quite as amped up going into halftime, and they go into the second half with a clean sheet."

Led by seniors Peter Deneen and Sam Studee, Buffalo's defense allowed very little scoring chances on senior goalie Noah Raisanen, who ended the night making nine saves to record the shutout.

"On defense, we try to have one guy take the ball and one guy cover," Studee said. "If you have to be physical and go body-to-body, then we'll do that. Otherwise, playing with speed is always the goal – you want the ball first."

Other defensemen that aided the shutout were first-year varsity players, senior Ben Ruhr, freshman Carson Smrz, and sophomore Parker Vajda.

As a team, Buffalo won the possession battle as well as a 17-9 edge in shots on goal.

After going 0-4 in non-conference games to open the season, the Bison's win over Rogers started a trend that has become the norm the past few seasons.

"We've always done a little better in conference, because the section teams we open with are a little harder competition," Studee said. "That, and we have more rivalries with the conference teams."

Including a 1-0 start this year, Buffalo has posted a 23-2-3 record in the Mississippi 8 dating back to the 2014 season.

Pokorney reiterates that wins and losses early in the season is not the primary goal.

"You obviously want to win, but like I've said before, we look at those first few games as part of our preparation," he said. "We learn a lot from those non-conference games. It's that progression we want to build later into the year and into the playoffs."

Good news for the Bison is nine of their next 10 games are against conference opponents, which included Tuesday's road game at Princeton (UPDATING THIS TUESDAY NIGHT)

Next up is a 7 p.m. home game Thursday, Sept. 14 against Big Lake.



Last Thursday's home game with Rogers was the third time this season both the Bison boys and girls soccer teams played a doubleheader at home.

Both teams played Moorhead last Aug. 25 with the girls winning 3-2 in overtime and the boys falling 2-1. The Bison hosted two different schools in an Aug. 31 doubleheader, with the girls losing 2-0 to Hopkins and the boys losing 4-3 to Anoka.

The Bison will also have a road doubleheader on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at Monticello's new stadium. The girls' game starts at 6 p.m. and the boys follow at 7:30 p.m.

"We've gone years where the soccer teams haven't seen the other team play," Pokorney said. "The players wanted to be able to support the other soccer program. I think a lot of schools are sort of looking at doing this more."


Buffalo 2, Rogers 0

(Thursday, Sept. 7 at Buffalo)

Rogers0  0   -  0

Buffalo1  1   -  2


First Half: B -- Conor Smrz.

Second Half: B -- Brent Fiore (Nick Lund).


R - Thomas Morrison (loss) 17 shots, 15 saves; B - Noah Raisanen (win) 9 shots, 9 saves.


Buffalo, Princeton

(Tuesday, Sept. 12 at Princeton)

Buffalo0  0   -  0

Princeton1  1   -  2


First Half: B -- Conor Smrz.

Second Half: B -- Brent Fiore (Nick Lund).


B - Noah Raisanen (win) 9 shots, 9 saves: P - Thomas Morrison (loss) 17 shots, 15 saves.


Bison dig deep to collect first win

Buffalo's 3-1 volleyball victory over St. Francis ends streak; sophomores contributing

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

With a familiar face returning to the sidelines, the Buffalo volleyball team responded with its first win of the season.

A 3-1 (25-16, 23-25, 26-24, 25-21) home win Tuesday night over St. Francis ended the Bison's six-match losing streak. It also was the first match for head coach Jenn Peterson, who missed the early part of the season due to the recent birth of her first child.

"I don't think anything changed that much while she was gone, but we love getting her back," said sophomore Kennedy Sohler. "I think it was just an extra push that we needed."

In a relatively even match that was separated by just seven total points, the home team used its big crowd, and steamy gym to its advantage early on, winning the first set 25-16.

St. Francis won the match's second point 25-23. Buffalo rallied that set from a 16-13 deficit to grab an 18-16 lead. Led by senior setter Hannah McCann, the Fighting Saints took nine of the next 13 points thanks to a strong attack.

McCann needed 23 assists to break the St. Francis all-time school record for career assists. She ended with 28.

Both teams battled hard with the Bison taking the pivotal third set 26-24. Bison senior Kari Zumach was dominant that set. Her kill was the decisive point that put Buffalo up 2-1 in the match.

Buffalo carried the momentum into the fourth set, where they won 25-21.

Zumach ended the night with a season-high 29 kills and 16 digs. Statistically, the Bison had a lot of season highs. Sophomore Nicole Odeen had 40 set assists. Sophomore Maddie Johnson had 19 digs as the team's defensive specialist. Senior Aivary Bouman had six block assists.

As a team, Buffalo had a big night from the service line. Odeen, Zumach, and senior Jade Schrupp each had four aces. 

Lost in the stats game was a strong net presence from Odeen, Kennedy Sohler, and Lauren Ehlers – all sophomores.

"I think we try and be our own leaders on the court," said Sohler, when asked about the inexperience up front. "If someone's lost, we try and pick each other up, and not let someone go down."

Seeing her first look in game action, Peterson was impressed with how well the young girls are performing.

"They are still learning, but they do a fantastic job of keeping the ball in the court and making smart choices," Peterson said. "I feel the older girls are helping them along as well."

Buffalo's win improved its conference record to 1-1. The Bison dropped to 0-6 with a 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-17) road loss last Thursday at North Branch.

The Vikings are currently ranked No. 6 in Class AA.

Zumach led the way with 18 kills. Odeen had 20 set assists.

Next up for Buffalo (1-6 overall) is a 7 p.m. road match Thursday, Sept. 14 at St. Michael-Albertville.


North Branch 3, Buffalo 0

(Thursday, Sept. 7 at North Branch)

Buffalo   18  19  17  -  0 (54)

North Branch  25  25  25  -  3 (75)

Bison stats:

Kills: Kari Zumach 18; Nicole Odeen 4; Lauren Ehlers 3; Payton Dannewitz 1; Aivary Bouman 1; Kennedy Sohler 1.

Set Assists: Nicole Odeen 20.

Service Aces: Aivary Bouman 3.

Digs: N/A.

Blocks-solo: Kennedy Sohler 3-0; Kari Zumach 3-0; Nicole Odeen 1-0.


Buffalo 3, St. Francis 1

(Tuesday, Sept. 12 at Buffalo)

St. Francis   16  25  24  21  -  1 (86)

Buffalo   25  23  26  25  -  3 (99)

Bison stats:

Kills: Kari Zumach 29; Aivary Bouman 5; Lauren Ehlers 5; Payton Dannewitz 3; Nicole Odeen 2; Maddie Johnson 1; Kennedy Sohler 1.

Set Assists: Nicole Odeen 40; Aivary Bouman 2; Jade Schrupp 2; Maddie Johnson 1; Kari Zumach 1.

Service Aces: Nicole Odeen 4; Jade Schrupp 4; Kari Zumach 4; Aivary Bouman 3; Maddie Johnson 2.

Digs: Maddie Johnson 19; Kari Zumach 16; Jade Schrupp 11; Nicole Odeen 8; Aivary Bouman 6; Lauren Ehlers 5; Payton Dannewitz 2; Kennedy Sohler 1; Faith Winter 1.

Blocks-solo: Aivary Bouman 6-0; Kari Zumach 4-1; Payton Dannewitz 2-0; Aivary Bouman 2-0.


Bison runners place top-20 at Bauman-Rovn

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

One of the biggest and most important races, outside of the conference and section meets, took place last Thursday at Gale Woods Farm in Minnetrista.

Buffalo landed two boys and two girls among the top-20 finishers in the Bauman-Rovn Invitational – site of this year's Section 2AA race.

Bison junior Isaac Basten continued his torrid start, earning medalist honors with a personal-record time of 16:08.47. It was the third time in three meets this season that Basten has finished first.

Buffalo boys finished fourth (108 points) out of 16 participating teams, which included three of the state's top-11 ranked teams in Class AA. Eden Prairie, ranked No. 5, finished first with 83 points.

Scoring for Buffalo were: junior Brett Hanson (13th-16:54.80), senior Braden Benson (27th-17:22.68), sophomore Nick Oak (31st-17:28.71), and junior Joey Anderson (37th-17:31.81).

Juniors Austin Willey, Alexei Hensel, Ryan Russek, and eighth-grader Jadon Boots also ran varsity.

Finishing among the top-20 for the Bison girls were senior Amanda Montplaisir (14th-20:08.71) and sophomore Alexis O'Malley (19th-20:18.46). Other scorers included: sophomore Emma Latcham-Reiter (73rd-22:15.75), senior Meredith Reynolds (96th-23:38.43), and freshman Ryleigh Stenson (98th-23:56.48). Sophomores Danielle Ruhr and Sarah Volden also ran varsity.

The Bison girls finished 12th out of 15 teams with 282 points. Marshall, ranked No. 5 in Class AA, won the meet with 57 points. Liesl Paulsen of Eden Prairie was the female medalist in 18:46.62.

"Gale Woods Farm was another hot day, and we were happy with how the kids performed," said Bison head coach Jill Hanson. "The boys ran real well as a team and another outstanding job by Issac, Brett and Joey. Amanda ran the same time she had last year.  She was disappointed in her performance, but to take 14th in such a high powered meet is impressive. Alexis ran a great race, finishing two places behind Amanda."



With a rare two meets in three days, Buffalo elected to rest three of its top runners in Basten, Benson, and Hanson, and the girls sat Montplaisir at last Saturday's Monticello Invite at Bertram Park.

The Bison boys finished fifth out of 11 teams with 123 points. St. Michael-Albertville was first at 26. Posting the top-time for Buffalo and finishing 14th out of 75 runners was Willey in 17:52.87. Alex Nemeth of Sartell was the medalist at 16:34.12.

Buffalo girls elected not to field a full varsity lineup. STMA won the 10-team meet with 29 points. Annalise Davis of the Knights was medalist in 18:55.64.

Highlighting the meet for Buffalo was the season debut of junior Emily Kern, who recorded the lowest time of the four Bison runners and a personal record time of 19:44.66, good for fifth overall out of 108 runners. O'Malley, Latcham-Reiter and Reynolds also ran.

"We are real excited to get Kern back racing, and she looked great. She looked strong and comfortable," Hanson said. "We are still in need of a couple of girls to step up and race with both Emma and Meredith. Volden, Stenson and Ruhr are working hard at practice, so hopefully a couple of them can take the next step."  

Next up for both Bison squads is a 4 p.m. meet Thursday, Sept. 14 in the Hutchinson Invite at Lake Marion.

"We're really looking forward to putting together all of these girls at Hutch," Hanson said. "We now only have one race per week, which everyone is very thankful for."


Bauman-Rovn Invite (Boys)

(Thursday, Sept. 7 at Gale Woods)

Team scores: 1. Eden Prairie 83; 2. Chanhassen 96; 3. Hopkins 99; 4. Buffalo 108; 5. Edina 146; 6. Robbinsdale Armstrong 189; 7. Willmar 201; 8. Prior Lake 204; 9. Eastview 245; 10. Lakeville South 253; 11. Marshall 295; 12. Coon Rapids 327; 13. Minnehaha Academy 351; 14. Elk River 358; 15. Chaska 358; 16. Minneapolis Southwest 384. 

Medalist (138 total runners): 1. Isaac Basten (Buffalo) 16:08.47.

Bison places-overall: 1-1. Isaac Basten 16:08.47; 2-13. Brett Hanson 16:54.80; 3-27. Braden Benson 17:22.68; 4-31. Nic Oak 17:28.71; 5-37. Joey Anderson 17:31.81; 6-44. Ryan Russek 17:42.85; 7-48. Jadon Boots 17:44.89; 8-65. Austin Willey 18:06.48; 9-82. Alexei Hensel 18:25.84.


Bauman-Rovn Invite (Girls)

(Thursday, Sept. 7 at Gale Woods)

Team scores: 1. Marshall 57; 2. Willmar 80; 3. Eden Prairie 102; 4. Minnetonka 123; 5. Lakeville South 134; 6. Minneapolis Southwest 168; 7. Hopkins 187; 8. Minnehaha Academy 204; 9. Prior Lake 214; 10. Elk River 272; 11. Chanhassen 277; 12. Buffalo 282; 13. Chaska 332; 14. Coon Rapids 333; 15. Robbinsdale Armstrong 385.

Medalist (108 total runners): 1. Liesl Paulsen (Eden Prairie) 18:46.62.

Bison places-overall: 1-14. Amanda Montplaisir 20:08.71; 2-19. Alexis O'Malley 20:18.46; 3-73. Emma Latcham-Reiter 22:15.75; 4-96. Meredith Reynolds 23:38.43; 5-98. Ryleigh Stenson 23:56.48; 6-104. Sarah Volden 24:27.44; 7-52. Danielle Ruhr 24:53.70.


Monticello Invite (Boys)

(Saturday, Sept. 9 at Bertram Park)

Team scores: 1. St. Michael-Albertville 26; 2. Hutchinson 49; 3. Rogers 99; 4. Big Lake 104; 5. Buffalo 123; 6. St. Francis 164; 7. Becker 174; 8. St. Cloud Tech 188; 9. Robbinsdale Cooper 231; 10. Park Center 241; 11. North Branch 255.

Medalist (75 total runners): 1. Alex Nemeth (Sartell) 16:34.12.

Bison places-overall: 1-14. Austin Willey 17:52.87; 2-34. Joey Anderson 18:53.32; 3-35. Nick Oak 18:53.37; 4-36. Ryan Russek 18:53.52; 5-37. Jadon Boots 18:53.52.


Monticello Invite (Girls)

(Saturday, Sept. 9 at Bertram Park)

Team scores: 1. St. Michael-Albertville 29; 2. Becker 47; 3. Monticello 84; 4. Sartell 96; 5. Annandale 119; 6. Rogers 191; 7. Park Center 206; 8. St. Cloud Tech 214; 9. North Branch 237; 10. Big Lake 247.

Medalist (108 total runners): 1. Annalise Davis (STMA) 18:55.64.

Bison places-overall: 1-5. Emily Kern 19:44.66; 2-39. Alexis O'Malley 22:46.92; 3-45. Emma Latcham-Reiter 23:17.35; 4-64. Meredith Reynolds 24:55.30.


Bison searching for more goals

By Rob LaPlante

Sports Editor

Head coach Sarah Rodenwald was trying to remain positive after last Thursday's 3-0 home loss to Rogers.

Dating back to senior Lauren Quiring's goal with 10 minutes left in the second half in a 1-0 win last Aug. 26 at Forest Lake, the Bison have since been shutout in three consecutive contests.

"Our girls have a lot of heart, and they continue to work hard and try getting better every day," said Rodenwald, following the Rogers defeat. "We're doing good things and getting more opportunities. But, it certainly is frustrating to not score. We have to find a way to get on the board."

The only goal in the first half came with 5:46 left on a shot from long range by Isabel Quintavalle that beat Bison junior goalie Carly LaPlant.

Buffalo came close to ending its shutout streak with 30:45 left in the second half. Senior Lauren Quiring's shot on a corner kick hit the far-bottom post on the fly, but was eventually covered up by Royal goalie Cassidy Lehrke.

"I can't believe that didn't score," Rodenwald said. "You got to believe that we'll eventually start putting some in."

Quiring has scored two of Buffalo's four goals this season – both game winners.

Last year's leading scorer, senior Sydney Johnson, played her second game since coming back from a head injury suffered in Buffalo's 3-2 season-opening win over Moorhead.

Johnson has only one assist and no goals in three games played from the midfield position. Last season she dressed as a forward.

With offense hard to come by, Cailey Henderson's goal with 10:14 left in regulation gave the Royals a 2-0 cushion, and spoiled any hopes of a late comeback.

Eighth-grader Avery Farrell made it 3-0 just four minutes later.

"I thought we were right in it," Rodenwald said. "They were possessing the ball more than us and had opportunities, but not quality ones. Until that second goal, we were right with them."

The Royals outshot Buffalo 17-3 for the game, and extended their win streak over Buffalo to seven straight games, dating back to a 2-2 tie Oct. 4, 2012. The last Bison win against Rogers was 2-0 on Sept. 18 of the same year.



The Bison ended its shutout streak when Johnson scored her first of the season early in the second half Tuesday at home against Princeton.

While one streak ended, Buffalo's losing streak hit four games with a 4-2 loss to the Tigers.

Princeton scored twice in each half. Johnson's goal cut the defict to 2-1. Senior Danika Tweten netted her first of the year making it 3-2. Buffalo couldn't tally the equalizer and Princeton added an insurance goal to close out the scoring.

Junior Abby Burandt replaced LaPlant in goal just two minutes into the contest after LaPlant suffered an injury on a breakaway save.

"That injury changed the landscape of the game," Rodenwald said.

Buffalo (2-4 overall, 0-2 M8) plays at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14 at Big Lake.


Rogers 3, Buffalo 0

(Thursday, Sept. 7 at Buffalo)

Rogers1  2   -  3

Buffalo0  0   -  0


First Half: R -- Isabel Quintavalle.

Second Half: R -- Cailey Henderson (Quintavalle); R -- Avery Farrell (Quintavalle).


R - Cassidy Lehrke (win) 3 shots, 3 saves; B - Carly LaPlant (loss) 17 shots, 14 saves.


Princeton 4, Buffalo 2

(Tuesday, Sept. 12 at Buffalo)

Princeton2  2   -  4

Buffalo0  2   -  2


First Half: P -- N/A; P -- N/A.

Second Half: B -- Sydney Johnson; P -- N/A; B -- Danika Tweten (Lauren Quiring); P -- N/A.


P - Sydney Eckert (win) 8 shots, 6 saves; B - Carly LaPlant 1 shot, 1 save; Abby Burandt (loss) 9 shots, 5 saves.


Remembering 9/11

Tatanka STEM celebrates Patriot Day with local heroes

In honor of Patriot Day, staff and students gathered Monday, Sept. 11 at Tatanka Elementary STEM school  to honor their local community members, and help raise the flag in remembrance of 9-11-2001.

Community members from the Minnesota State Highway Patrol, Wright County Sheriff's Office, Buffalo Police Department, and the Buffalo Fire Department joined in the celebration.

Students sang patriotic songs and made cards to thank their local heroes. With the help of three students, and lead engineer Jason Johnson, the American Flag was raised and lowered at half-staff in honor of Patriot's Day and our community helpers.


BHS announces homecoming candidates

The 2017 BHS Homecoming King candidates includes (left-right): Alan Hernandez, Jack Oistad, Peter Deneen, Nick Immel, Eric Braun, Aydin Sherber, Cory Knudsen, and Harrison Bjorback. This year's homecoming king will be crowned Monday, Sept. 18 at the Performing Arts Center. (Photos by Rob LaPlante)

The 2017 BHS Homecoming Queen candidates includes (left-right): Carley Zumbusch, Gabrielle Grage, Abby Kohls, Ella Shuherk, Danika Tweten, Mya Lubben, Claire Stevens, and Madelyn Backes. This year's homecoming queen will also be crowned Monday, Sept. 18 at the Performing Arts Center.

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