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Brighton girls soccer places third in region, falls in state quarterfinals

Oct 31, 2017 09:45AM ● Published by City Journals Staff

The Bengals home field is nestled next to Butler Middle School and the Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center. Brighton’s girls soccer team finished with a 12-5-1 record losing in the quarterfinals of the state tournament. (Travis Barton/City Journals)

By Josh McFadden | josh@mycityjournals.com    

Of all the regions in Utah high school girls soccer, Region 7 is among the most challenging. The Brighton Bengals are well aware of this.

Brighton finished its regular season with a 5-4-1 region record, good enough for third-place tie with rival Alta. The Bengals were 11-4-1 overall heading into the postseason. 

In their two regular-season games with Alta, the Bengals suffered a 2-1 loss on Sept. 7 and played to a scoreless draw in the regular season finale Oct. 3. As a result, Alta won the tie-breaker to secure the No. 3 seed in the Class 5A state tournament. As the fourth seed, Brighton drew Region 5 champion Woods Cross in an Oct. 10 road game to open the playoffs.

Playing in hostile territory didn’t seem to matter.

Brighton gave Woods Cross its first loss to an in-state team, prevailing 2-1 in a game where all the scoring took place in the second half. Hanna Olsen and Sage Stott scored for the Bengals before Woods Cross got on the board with six minutes to go. The Brighton defense withstood a relentless barrage from the Wildcats in the final moments and held on for the close victory. 

The Bengals advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2014 and took on Maple Mountain Oct. 12 in another road contest. Maple Mountain placed second in Region 8 and entered the game with a 9-2-3 record. 

The game was a defensive stalemate during regulation, as neither team managed to find the back of the net. The game was still scoreless after one overtime period. In the second overtime, Maple Mountain scored to avoid a shootout, ending the Bengals’ season with a 12-5-1 record. It was the third straight year that the Bengals won 12 games.

Despite exiting the state tournament earlier than they hoped, the Bengals had plenty of positives on the season. The team went undefeated in non-league play, as it opened the season with seven straight victories. Brighton allowed just three goals during that seven-game stretch. The defensive was strong all year. Except for a 5-0 loss to Corner Canyon on Sept. 21, Brighton never allowed more than two goals in a game all season. Meanwhile, the offense generated at least three goals in seven games.

A total of 10 Bengals registered goals this season. Olsen led the way with nine goals, while teammate Alexxis Ward contributed six. Sage Stott and Aubrey Long each had three goals. Milan Davis and Aly Vyfvinkel took turns at the goalkeeper position; the duo was a big reason Brighton allowed just 1.1 goals per game. 

All of Brighton’s losses were to playoff teams. The Bengals took care of all the opponents they were expected to take care of. 

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