Tom Smart, Deseret News
Brighton's Stephanie Verdoia accidentally kicks Jordan's Soey Alipour in a scramble for the ball in Wednesday's Region 2 opener.

Based on how well its defense has performed in the past few games, the last situation Brighton expected to find itself in was an offensive shootout. But with Jordan scoring in bunches, the Bengals had to find a new way to keep their perfect record intact.

Fortunately for Brighton, its offense showed it could take a dominant turn usually reserved for the defense.

Four different Bengals scored to help Brighton outlast the Beetdiggers for a 5-3 victory in the Region 2 opener for both teams on Wednesday afternoon. Sophomore forward Stephanie Verdoia led the attack with a pair of second-half goals.

Verdoia's first goal gave the Bengals their first lead of the game at 2-1 in the 43rd minute. Rachel Ulanch set things in motion by swinging a corner kick deep into the penalty area to Diana Bullough. From there, Bullough popped the ball up high and Verdoia got under it and headed it into the net.

"Diana just hit it in the air and it was sitting right there for me," Verdoia said. "One of the easiest goals I think I've ever scored."

It was not only an easy goal, but it brought the Brighton offense to life.

The Bengals went up 3-1 when Alyssa Curtis came out and finished off a play started by a corner kick she delivered to Jessica Ringwood.

Jordan drew back to within a goal in the 60th minute when Jade Tarvar corralled the ball off a missed shot by Chelsie Sperry and punched it into the net. But Verdoia came through with her second goal on a tap-in down low to make it 4-2 in the 73rd minute.

The way Brighton struggled to contain the Beetdiggers' offense at times echoed back to the season opener against Northridge, where the team also yielded three goals.

Jordan took control early by beating the Bengals at their own game. They attacked the goal with a relentless energy and dominated possessions. It finally paid off in the 20th minute when Bailey Pearson sent a cross down to Lexi Morgan in the 6-yard box and Morgan flicked it in to give the Beetdiggers a 1-0 lead.

"When we first came out we were super frantic," Brighton coach Tennille Vance said. "(We) were a little bit nervous. The first region game — it kind of sets a statement to win that. And I think they had a little pressure on them."

Although the Bengals' shutout streak ended sooner than expected, they quickly regrouped and evened the score at 1-1 in the 36th minute when Ringwood rifled the ball past Kelsie Garner's fingertips as she dove to block the shot.


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