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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Brighton girls soccer team suffers heartbreaking loss in state tournament

Nov 11, 2019 02:57PM ● By Josh McFadden

Kendra Hassell battles for a ball during a home game. The Bengals fell in the second round of the playoffs. (File photo Justin Adams/City Journals)

By Josh McFadden | [email protected]

A single goal kept the Brighton girls soccer team from advancing to the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state tournament. 

The Bengals fell on the road at Timpview on Oct. 15 by the count of 2-1. It was just the sixth time in 18 games that Brighton failed to score at least two goals in a game. In the contest, Brighton and Timpview were knotted up at 1-1 at halftime, but the Bengals couldn’t find the back of the net in the second half. Lexi Simpson scored for Brighton, which put up a valiant effort against the Region 7 co-champs. Timpview entered the game with a 14-3 record and had won six games in a row. 

Brighton reached the second round after upending Region 5’s Woods Cross 2-1 on Oct. 10. Playing in front of a home crowd against the 5-8 Wildcats, the Bengals jumped out to a 2-0 halftime advantage and held on for the victory. 

In the regular season, the Bengals had the task of playing in one of the most competitive regions in the state. Region 6 foes include Skyline, Murray, Olympus and East, all of which advanced to the second round of the playoffs. The Bengals tied East for fourth place in the league, going 8-5-1 in league games. The team finished 9-8-1 overall. Brighton amassed 48 goals on the season and scored at least three goals in a game seven times this season. 

Defensively, Brighton had its ups and downs on the year but posted three shutouts and had four other games when it allowed just a single goal.

Individually, the Bengals got offensive contributions from numerous players. A total of 12 Bengals registered goals, led by the senior Simpson, who had 12. Junior Kate Munger added 11, while junior Sage Stott had six, and senior Bailey Thomas had five. Three different goalies saw action. Michaela Smith, Haley Munson and Maddy LaFleur each contributed in the net. 

Though some key players will graduate, Brighton has a solid core of players coming back in 2020. Brighton will look to improve on its nine-win total, which was the fewest wins the team posted since 2004. The Bengals had reached at least 11 victories every year since coming into this season.