Warriors sophomore Sophia Bauer comes close to finding an opening in the second half but the play ended with a collision and no shot. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

It’s been a tough week for the Philomath High girls soccer team with back-to-back 1-0 losses — Tuesday on the road at Newport and Thursday at home against North Marion.

Both of those teams, by the way, have just one loss between the two of them.

“I think we recognize the things that we did in these two games. They were really tough, tough games against good teams,” Warriors coach Mat Phelps said. “We had our chances … We played in spurts really well in both games and so we recognize what’s giving us success and that’s what we need to focus on.”

Philomath had its chances against the Huskies but the ball just would not roll into the net. In the 13th minute, senior Mia Cook came close to scoring when the ball got past the goalkeeper but the Husky defense recovered in time to avoid the early deficit.

“Their defenders made a great play to clear a ball that was literally touching the line on a shot in the first half,” Phelps said. “Same thing with (in the second half) with Petra (Hernandez) — she was right there and the keeper just got a finger on it. We had some chances and then toward the end, we got tired a little bit and started playing as individuals; we weren’t really connecting as a team.”

Junior Kamilla Grimmer kicks the ball out of the corner during an offensive in the first half. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Phelps was referring to a Hernandez opportunity in the 67th minute — and those were just two examples of when Philomath wasn’t able to cash in. Back in the 21st minute, sophomore Kateri Pindell took a shot from the middle after a setup by sophomore Sophia Bauer but it sailed just high about 6 inches over the net.

In the 30th minute, Cook had a good look from 15 yards but the shot was attempted from a difficult angle. In the second half, Philomath had a chance in the 55th minute on a well-placed ball upfield by junior Kamila Grimmer to set up Bauer but the opponent’s keeper made an aggressive move to disrupt the play. The Warriors also had a handful of corner kick opportunities.

North Marion’s goal came in the 27th minute when senior forward Saylor Swanson dribbled down the left side, beat a defender and took advantage of an opening to give her team a 1-0 lead.

“I think our communication was a little off and our cover defense wasn’t quite close enough,” Phelps said. “So when the girl made the move to get around the first defender, the second defender wasn’t close enough to really attack and win the ball.”

Warriors sophomore Petra Hernandez collides with North Marion’s goalkeeper on a play in front of the net in the second half. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

The Warriors (3-3 overall, 1-2 Oregon West) played without junior Bailey Bell, one of the team’s top players that sat out after sustaining an ankle injury in Tuesday’s road loss.

“She’s got a lot of energy, a lot of skill and she brings a lot of energy to our team when she’s in there so it does affect it but I’m confident in all those girls that played on the field today,” Phelps said. “I feel that the group that was on the field today, even without Bailey, could win this game.”

Bell’s status for upcoming games remains uncertain, although Phelps said, “I think ankle injuries are kinda tough but she’s pretty motivated … I wouldn’t be too worried.”

North Marion, which beat Philomath 1-0 in last season’s 4A quarterfinals, is off to a 4-1-1 start, 2-0-1 in league play.

The Warriors will play their next game at home as well with a Tuesday matchup against Sweet Home.

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.