Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Your 2016 Buffalo Bandettes!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Bandettes at the Bandits' regular season finale

Squad photo!!
It's been a tale of two seasons in Banditland as the first part of the season had the team at 8-2 behind a new coach and improved play over last season. Anthony Cosmo had one of the strongest seasons of his career, a vast difference from last season. A not-so-funny thing happened when the team visited the league-leading Edmonton Rush on March 21st. The Rush handed the Bandits a humiliating 14-5 loss in which poor chemistry and undisciplined play proved the Bandits' undoing. It's been all downhill from there as the Bandits couldn't get back in the win column again, with the only bright spot being the continued strong play in goal. Saturday night, with the Bandits playing for a home playoff game, a few things changed. The Bandits played with a lot more discipline than they have in over a month but the goaltending left a lot to be desired, on both ends of the arena. Along with the Bandits' Cosmo, Matt Vinc of the Rochester Knighthawks had a strong season in net but let a lot through that he normally wouldn't. Unfortunately, the poor chemistry and sloppy passing proved the Bandits' undoing as the visiting Knighthawks capitalized and went away with a 16-14 win. The loss, combined with the Toronto win in Minnesota, puts the Bandits on the road for the 1st round of the playoffs next weekend.
LB and Stephanie with some young fans
MaKenzie and Danielle before the game
Kirsten, Stephanie, and Chelsea
The Bandettes' season has been one in transition as coach Jaclyn stepped back to allow Jessica to move into the role. It had been planned as a slower process, with Jessica continuing to perform much of the season but an injury made that impossible, as she had to end that part of her activities after 3 seasons as a Bandettes performer and learn the role on the job under the guidance of Jaclyn and Erin Y as well as the input of former longtime coach Erin J, who was on hand frequently throughout the season. Overall, the season has been a strong one for the squad, a group that really shows how a dance/cheerleading squad should be. Pro cheerleaders/dance squads put in a lot of work to put together a good product and should always be afforded the utmost respect and appreciation for doing so. Moreover, the work they do together should bring them together and the Bandettes, have always done that extremely well. I started covering the squad in 2006 and saw how close-knit they were and Erin J, one of the coaches at the time, had told me it had been that way all along. The Bandettes truly are like a family. This season, 2nd year vet Kelsey has been in the running for the NLL Girl of The Year crown and her squadmates have been working hard trying to help her. A few weeks ago, Danielle entered the contest but failed to make it out of the 1st round. When I expressed my regret last night to her about the loss, she wasn't bothered by it as she's been behind Kelsey's campaign all along just as much as anyone else. That says a lot to me...these girls don't put themselves above their squadmates. When Kelsey wins, God willing, it'll be an award for the entire squad and how well they pull together.
performing in pregame
Kirsten eyeing the camera after a Bandits goal
Cheri cheering on a goal
LB talking to a young fan in the 1st quarter
Cheri and Amanda posing together at the end of the 1st half
performing at the half
Kelsey high above the crowd
Kirsten, Stephanie, and Mandy
After I got to the game and grabbed something to eat, I made my way to the gates where the squad was handing out team posters and posing for photos with the fans. I didn't stay very long as they were pretty busy as a sell-out crowd was pouring in, only grabbing a moment to talk to a few of the girls as well as to Kelsey's mother and sister Danielle, a 2 year-alum herself. When the girls came out for the game, they made sure to get a few group photos as they knew it could be their last time performing together. Reigning Bandette of The Week LB told me before the season it was definitely her last season and who knows who else may not be there when the 2015 squad is put together this fall. But let's not get ahead of ourselves as this year's squad isn't yet finished. The Bandettes are still pulling for Kelsey's victory in the NLL Girl of The Year contest, which is currently in the 2nd round of voting at and the Bandits, if they can pull together a good game next week in Toronto, can still return to the friendly confines of Banditland in the playoffs in 2 weeks against Rochester. Regardless of what happens in the next few weeks, the Bandettes can be proud of what they did this season. Only 2 rookies joined up in 2014 but even though I didn't get to know them that well, they definitely proved themselves with their dedication this season. Also, Janelle has a pair of the most beautiful eyes I've ever photographed, ranking right up there with Jills alum Jackie (2008-2010), and Mandy's smile and enthusiasm for being a part of the Bandettes make them both girls you want to see continue on with the squad for several more years.
You can see all the pics at

Next up, we wait to see if the Bandits can snap out of their funk and pull off a playoff win in Toronto next week in order to return to Banditland to face the 1st seed Knighthawks in the 2nd round.
Chelsea, Stephanie, Janelle, and Chrissy
See all the pics from the Bandits at

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