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Brighton wins epic battle against Warriors

Brighton's Kelly Maddock (2) spikes the ball past Taylorsville's Brita Noble during Thursday's match.
Brighton's Kelly Maddock (2) spikes the ball past Taylorsville's Brita Noble during Thursday's match.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News

TAYLORSVILLE — In order for Kelly Maddock to maximize her hitting ability, she needed some help from her teammates. Their efforts, combined with her ability to pound the volleyball, earned the young squad a big region victory Thursday.

"We just needed more activity from our middles," said coach Kathy Mendenhall after the Bengals held on to win a thriller at Taylorsville 25-19, 22-25, 19-25, 25-23, 15-11. "We really needed them to get up, which helped Kelly get a more wide-open shot ... They all did a great job."

Maddock led the team's attack with 14 kills, while middle hitter Aurie Robinson added 10 kills. Setter Lori Mendenhall earned 48 assists, while older sister Kassie led the team's defense.

"Brighton's defense was tough," said Taylorsville coach Rich Kaelin. "I thought Kassie was all over the court. We had some hits that we thought were kills that came back over the net."

Kaelin said while Brighton played well, the Warriors made too many mistakes in the final two games of the match.

"They made some mistakes that we just didn't take advantage of," he said. "They came alive in that fourth game, and we gave them some points on our errors."

Mendenhall agreed that mistakes helped.

"They played almost flawlessly in the second and third game," she said. "They had eight errors in those two games combined ... You're going to be tough to beat when you're playing that well."

Sophomore setter Lori Mendenhall said she loves the excitement of a close contest like Thursday's.

"We played hard and they played well, too," she said. "It was a tough match. It's intense."

She said she moved the ball a little differently down the stretch.

"We sped it up a little so (Kelly) could get up and hit it really hard," Mendenhall said of trying to avoid the Warrior block. Maddock said it was as simple as doing what they do best, instead of trying to respond to what Taylorsville threw at them.

"We decided to play our own game and not let them get inside our heads," said the senior. "We have such a young team, but they bring so much competition to our team, even at practices."

Mendenhall said the Bengals were feeling a little pressure to live up to last year's 5A championship team earlier in the season.

"I told them that there is really no pressure on us," she said. "Just come to practice and work hard."

Kaelin said his team played well, even though injuries have forced the players to constantly adjust to personnel shifts. Senior middle hitter Cyd Allen led the offense with 16 kills and four solo blocks, while outside hitter Brita Noble added 12 kills and Marisha Black earned nine kills in the loss that puts the Warriors in third place in region play.