Down 1-2 in sets to Bingham High School, and losing 10-20 in the fourth set, things looked bleak for Brighton High School's girls volleyball team.
Somehow University of Utah commit Dani Barton still believed and thought the Bengals could rally.
“Just don’t give up. Get pumped up and keep fighting,” the senior captain told her teammates. “Time to dig in and test our toughness.”
Brighton’s toughness was up to the test, and the No. 2-ranked Bengals came from behind to prevail in five sets on Thursday evening.
Brighton head coach Adam Fernandez kept his cool on the sidelines even when it looked like the Bengals would lose their second overall match — and their first in region play.
“I was just trying to keep my composure. If the girls start to see the coaches get mad and give up, then they’ll follow suit,” Fernandez said. “I don’t know how confident I was, but I was just trying to put up a good front.”
Brighton reeled off eight straight points to win the fourth set by a score of 28-26 to pull the match even.
The Miners started strong, winning the first set 25-20 and the second 25-21 — to take a 2-0 lead.
Brighton controlled the third set, passing well and giving other players besides Barton a chance to kill, winning 25-15 to keep their hopes alive.
“We wanted to move the ball around on offense, and we had a chance to do that the last three [sets] because we passed better,” Fernandez said.
After the fourth-set comeback, the Bengals came out hot in the fifth set — winning 10 of the first 15 points in the final set — to take the fifth game 15-11 and claim the match 3-2.
“That was a great win. That was the hardest competition we’ve played so far this year, so being able to take that to five and battle through some adversity was good for us,” said Barton, who overpowered the Miners with powerful kills in the final two sets.
Fernandez praised his team's mental toughness to come back from down 0-2 and win the match.
“The toughest part is just not playing like you’re down by 10. It’s just one of those things where they just have to pretend that it’s 0-0, and when they do that, then you have more confidence,” Fernandez said. “When you play like you’re down 20-10, all of the sudden you forget the basics and don’t do things well. They were tough. They are tougher than I thought they were.”
With the win, Brighton improves to 4-0 in Region 3, taking sole possession of the top spot. The Bengals are 12-1 overall.
Bingham dropped to second place in Region 3. The Miners are 3-1 in region play and 6-7 overall on the season.
Up next, Brighton travels to West Jordan to take on Copper Hills, and Bingham will defend its home court against Taylorsville.