OREM In a match where there really is no favorite, an injury to a key player can change things rather quickly.
So when Brienna Thomas, libero and top passer for No. 5-ranked Fremont went down early in the first game with an injured ankle, the complexion of the match shifted dramatically.
Brighton took advantage and played with energy throughout the match to sweep the Silver Wolves, 25-23, 26-24, 25-16, in the fifth-place match of the 5A state championships at Utah Valley State College on Saturday.
"It was a full team effort," Brighton head coach Kathy Mendenhall said of her No. 4 Bengals. "It was an amazing day."
Up 8-3 when Thomas went down, Fremont played frustrated at times, and seemed completely deflated after a collapse in the second game.
The Silver Wolves still led most of the first game, and were up 23-21 with a chance to serve out the game. But the Bengals scored four straight points to close it out.
The second game was even more of a disappointment for Fremont, as it had a big 20-11 lead. But Brighton once again stormed back, closing to within 22-17.
The Silver Wolves had game-point at 24-20, but couldn't finish. The Bengals tallied six straight points to demoralize Fremont going into the final game.
Fremont tried to keep the third game close, and trailed by just two at 15-13, but got outscored 10-3 the rest of the way.
After the game, Laney said her team was extremely upset after its second-round loss to Viewmont on Friday. But that didn't stop them from playing hard on the tournament's final day.
"There was a lot of disappointment, but I talked to them about how satisfying it would be to end with a win," Laney said.
The Bengals responded with a balanced effort. Kelly Maddock led Brighton with 11 kills, while Kassie Mendenhall had 11 digs, Aurie Robinson contributed with seven kills and Baily Hansen finished with 10 digs."I didn't know if they would come out and play hard, but they did, and they never gave up," Laney said.
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