PHS junior Isabel Morales-Marquez sprints to the ball for a goal off a rebound to give the Warriors a 3-1 lead. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

A correction was made at 12:06 p.m. Sept. 18, 2023: Jessica McLennan's name was spelled incorrectly in an earlier version of this story.

A hot afternoon, an eight-day stretch in between contests and three starters missing from the game-opening lineup provided the Philomath High girls soccer team with interesting challenges to overcome heading into Thursday afternoon’s home matchup against Estacada.

The Rangers then added another wrinkle by scoring early for a 1-0 lead.

“There was definitely a little bit of that in the beginning of the game — you can tell we haven’t played in a while,” Warriors sophomore Jessica McLennan said. “But it was nice to get back into a rhythm.”

McLennan’s not kidding with Philomath finding rhythm fast and reeling off eight straight goals by the time the first half ended. A ninth a little more than 5 minutes into the second half ended the game on the eight-goal mercy rule as the Warriors moved to 3-1 on the season with a 9-1 victory.

The matchup against the Rangers (0-4) was the team’s first game action since an 8-0 win Sept. 5 over Cottage Grove.

“We want to have the competition so we try to replicate that in practice as much as possible,” PHS coach Mat Phelps said. “We scrimmaged Tuesday with the JV team and fortunately, we have a really strong JV team so they can push us physically a little bit and I think that helped. But it can be difficult to remember how you’re supposed to start a game.”

PHS junior Madyx Mooney scores the team’s first goal after picking the ball on a rebound. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath played the game without two of its regular starters — sophomore Ana Candanoza and junior Kateri Pindell — running in a cross-country meet. A third starter, junior Melea Lattin, wasn’t on the pitch in the beginning with blisters getting taped but she did get in later for some minutes.

“That kind of threw us off,” Phelps said about the lineup changes. “But we’ve got to be prepared for that and not start out slow. They responded really well, though.”

Estacada senior Ava Shibahara set up the goal with an effective pass to junior teammate Tori Meyers on the left side. Meyers found the net and had a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute.

PHS sophomore Jessica McLennan had two goals and one assist in the 9-1 victory. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

“All of us we’re like, ‘what just happened?’ But we came back from that goal really well,” said McLennan, who scored two goals and had an assist in the win. “The comeback we had from that was just what we needed it to be.”

Philomath scored the equalizer just two minutes later on a goal by junior Madyx Mooney. Senior Kamilla Grimmer started the scoring sequence with a shot that hit the post but Mooney was in position to finish.

The Warriors threatened again immediately with Grimmer missing high after a setup pass from McLennan and senior Bailey Bell took a pass from Grimmer and got off a strong shot but it went right to the goalkeeper. Those two opportunities occurred just 90 seconds apart.

Then in the 13th minute, Grimmer found the net for the 2-1 Warriors lead. Junior Isabel Morales-Marquez had the assist.

PHS junior Natalie Dunn goes up for a header on a corner kick. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Philomath went up by two goals in the 17th minute on another rebound opportunity. On the play, Grimmer took a shot with enough heat that Estacada’s goalkeeper couldn’t maintain possession. The ball rolled away out of her reach and Morales-Marquez came sprinting in to bury the shot.

In the 28th minute, Grimmer scored from the top of the box following a steal and McLennan then scored her first goal three minutes later on a ball put into play by Bell on a corner kick.

“I felt like we struggled with the heat but even playing against a lower-level team, we still played with intensity as a team preparing for league,” McLennan said.

Bell scored high in the 36th minute on a shot that went off the keeper’s outstretched hands with an assist to McLennan. McLennan scored her second goal two minutes later with an assist to junior Natalie Dunn.

Philomath junior defender Aspen Russell fights for possession in the second half. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

In extra time at the end of the first half, Mooney scored for a second time on a setup from sophomore Ellie Dye.

After the intermission, Philomath nearly ended the game in the first 90 seconds of the second half but a shot by junior Sophia Bauer banged off the crossbar. In the fifth minute, Grimmer found herself with an open net with the Estacada goalkeeper caught out of position but the shot missed to the left. But it didn’t matter and Grimmer capitalized on her next opportunity with the game-ending goal 5:10 into the half.

Grimmer gets the hat trick and now has nine goals for the season.

Philomath’s next game is scheduled for Sept. 21 at Cascade in the team’s Oregon West Conference opener.

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.

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