Philomath junior Silas Pittman's body language sums up the outcome Thursday with the Warriors falling to Marist Catholic in their season opener, 4-1. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

In a performance that seemed to include just a whole lot of bad luck — an own goal and two penalties in the box contributed — the Philomath High boys soccer team dropped its season opener on the home pitch Thursday 4-1 to Marist Catholic.

Coach Dave Ellis didn’t attribute the negative result to bad luck and said the players on his young roster just have a lot to learn in the heat of battle.

“We’re going to have to lick our wounds and make some changes,” Ellis said. “I was talking to the coaches, you know, and it’s like we’ve had the same kids that have been on varsity for two, three years and there’s just a lot of little things that they’ve got to learn. Part of it is just being ready to compete and realizing that you can’t come out and walk around the pitch.”

The game remained scoreless well into the first half. Philomath junior Silas Pittman had a few opportunities during that stretch — including a shot that hit the right post in the ninth minute — but the Spartans were able to dodge those bullets. Another example of those frustrations occurred in the 29th minute when freshman Jacob Hernandez got the ball over to Pittman within 10 feet of the net on the left side. Pittman tried to set up sophomore Zach Grapoli in front of the goal but Marist disrupted the play.

Four minutes later, Marist caught a break and got on the scoreboard on a Philomath own goal. Marist then went up 2-0 on a penalty kick by senior Javi Sandoval-Gongora in the final minute of the half following a questionable call in the box.

“We showed flashes and honestly, Silas could have had three himself,” Ellis said. “He hit the post in the first half and there was one in the second when the keeper made a phenomenal save.”

Philomath’s Favian Aceves moves the ball downfield during Thursday’s opener vs. Marist. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

Sandoval-Gongora scored on a second PK early in the second half to put Marist up 3-0. This time around, the penalty was more obvious.

“We needed to be in better position before the ball came in,” Ellis said. “I have no issue with the second PK.”

Philomath continued to have opportunities but the ball was not bouncing the right way for the home team. The Warriors finally scored in the 63rd minute but it came on a Marist own goal off a corner kick put into play by senior Lukas Dunn.

Pittman had a few more looks at the net, including a shot in the 69th minute that hit the goalkeeper’s outstretched hands and then the crossbar. A short time later, Hernandez got the ball over to senior Owen Thomas in front of the net but the shot attempt missed to the left.

Philomath’s Owen Thomas gets off a shot attempt late in the second half after Marist’s keeper and the Warriors’ Zach Grapoli (No. 7) got tangled up. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

Marist then came back with its final goal in the 72nd minute when sophomore Ren Tracer buried a shot on a setup from Sandoval-Gongora.

Late in the game, Pittman almost pulled off a goal when hustling to save the ball from going out of bounds, dribbling in toward the net and attempting a shot at a tough angle from right to left. On a corner kick a few moments later, Grapoli put the ball in play and Thomas came close to scoring with a header that landed on top of the net.

“In those moments, we didn’t push through for the goal and in the moments in the back, we didn’t recognize danger,” Ellis said in summing up the game. “So we weren’t able to maximize those moments … we just weren’t ready to execute on the pitch.”

Philomath (0-1) is scheduled to play Tuesday at Cottage Grove with the start time set for 6 p.m. The Lions opened their season Wednesday with a 3-2 loss at Thurston.

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.