Cottonwood Heights • Alta looked set to break a curse that has plagued it for well over a decade.
Thanks to a tremendous comeback by Brighton, the Hawks will have to wait at least a few more weeks.
The Bengals tumbled into an 0-2 hole to their archrival before clambering back out again to win in five sets (16-25, 22-25, 25-23, 26-24, 18-16) on Tuesday night. It took a position switch and some locking down on defense, but Brighton managed to keep its winning streak against Alta going.
"I think we came out a little too pumped because it's a rivalry game," Brighton senior Mandy Taft said. "But I think by the end, we were in their heads."
That fortitude wasn't apparent in the beginning, when Alta was dominating the Bengals at the net. Junior Alex Hunt and senior Danielle Emery looked nearly unstoppable as the Hawks got out to a two-set lead.
Holes were open all over Brighton's back court. Communication clearly was off as balls were passed to no one or the Bengals helplessly watched kills land in vacant spaces.
Part of the confusion was caused by a new arrangement, with junior Montana Ivey playing setter and junior Lyndie Mitchell playing libero. The two switched for the third set, and the result was nearly a whole new team.
"We were mixing people around and trying to get used to a new setup," Brighton coach Adam Fernandez said. "Montana has some experience at libero, so she was able to get some digs back there."
The offense also looked more fluid in the last few sets, as Mitchell helped create some opportunities for Taft and Manda Thomas to swing free.
The final set was tied eight times, and Alta did reach a match point but couldn't close it out. Taft hit a rocketing kill to force a match point for Brighton, and the Hawks couldn't return a tough shot that gave the Bengals the win.
Alta next will get a chance at ending the streak Oct. 11, when it hosts Brighton.
Brighton storms back from deficit
• The Bengals come back from an 0-2 deficit to top the Hawks in a five-set battle.
• Brighton has won consecutive matches against Alta dating back at least 11 years.