I was really proud of my team. We’re working on coming together as a group and playing collectively rather than individually. I think we really showed that much better tonight in the second half, and that was the difference for us today. – Brighton head coach Mark Stoker

SALT LAKE CITY — Coming into its highly-anticipated matchup against previously undefeated Bingham, Brighton knew it would have its hands full.

And did it ever.

The Bengals battled off a 1-1 draw by netting two goals in the second half and locking down on defense down the stretch to knock off the Miners 3-1 Tuesday afternoon.

“Bingham came in undefeated and is a great, solid team. They’re probably the best team we’ve faced so far this year. We came out and we knew that we were going to have to play a tough match. It was just a great match by us all around,” Brighton head coach Mark Stoker said.

The home team wasted no time getting into a rhythm and was able to draw first blood when freshman Kaitlyn Conley found the back of the net early in the first half to take control with a 1-0 edge.

Despite falling into an early hole, Bingham stayed the course and continued to battle back as it looked for the equalizer before the end of the half.

Then, in the 33rd minute, senior midfielder Kaitlin La beat her defender and quickly fired before watching the ball hit the goalkeeper's hands, ricochet off the top bar and slowly bounce over the line for a goal to tie things up at 1-1 at the break.

“I was really proud of my team. We’re working on coming together as a group and playing collectively rather than individually. I think we really showed that much better tonight in the second half, and that was the difference for us today,” said Stoker.

Brighton came back out in the second half with intensity and urgency to immediately get rolling on offense.

The Bengals found a rhythm on offense with some tremendous passing and took over as they looked to retake the lead.

Senior Taylor Kasteler and senior goalkeeper Megan Turner did everything they could to help preserve the win as Kasteler extended their lead to 2-1 in the 48th minute off a PK and Turner came up with several key stops between the posts.

“(Turner) played great for us today. She came up with really strong kick saves down there that could have been an easy goal for them. She just came up with some really great plays for us today. We rely on her as a senior leader to do that,” Stoker said.

Brighton continued the pressure on both sides of the ball and junior Bri Sperry clinched the win with a terrific goal in the 70th minute.

“I think it was definitely our hardest game so far," Conley said. "We really needed a win today to help us push into region (play) and win that title. We just had to stay focused, keep our heads in the game and push harder,”

Ryan Love is a full-time student and has been a part-time sportswriter for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.

Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724

EMAIL: rlove@deseretnews.com