Philomath senior co-captain Bailey Bell's play in the middle caused issues all afternoon for Cottage Grove. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

For those who love girls soccer and want to watch Philomath High on the pitch this season, just make sure you’re not late.

Just over a minute into Tuesday afternoon’s home game against Cottage Grove, the Warriors scored on a crazy fast play that started with senior Kamilla Grimmer attempting to sneak the ball into the right side of the net. The ball hit the post, however, and sophomore Ana Candanoza was in position to pick up the rebound and deliver for a quick lead.

Ninety seconds later, sophomore Maggie King sent the ball in, junior Madyx Mooney got a touch on it in the middle and junior Petra Hernandez cashed in for a 2-0 lead.

In the game’s third minute, the outcome had pretty much been decided in what ended up as an 8-0 victory. The contest was stopped in the 65th minute on the eight-goal mercy rule.

“It was good to get a little bit of confidence back with our attack,” said senior co-captain Bailey Bell, a reference to some offensive struggles that PHS experienced in last week’s 3-2 loss at Marist Catholic. “Right now, we just need to get healthy and get ready for conference (play).”

Candanoza put the Warriors up 3-0 in the 12th minute on her second goal with an assist to Grimmer. Meanwhile, the Philomath defense was not giving an inch to an almost nonexistent offensive attack by the visitors. Warriors goalkeeper Heidi Bacho didn’t even touch the ball until the game’s 18th minute.

Philomath sophomore Ana Candanoza scored twice in the first half. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

Sophomore Jessica McClennan scored in the 23rd minute on a perfect ball up the middle from Grimmer. Three minutes later following a turnover on the left side, Grimmer scored high off a ball from senior Eevi Rolfe for a 5-0 advantage.

After another four minutes had passed, Rolfe scored on a slow roller to the right side of the net after getting the ball from King. The half’s seventh goal came in the 34th minute when junior Madyx Mooney found the net with an assist to junior Natalie Dunn.

Philomath had chances to end the game at halftime with an eighth goal but couldn’t finish on the opportunities. Bell sent a pass to King that had promise up the middle but the Cottage Grove keeper was able to cover up the ball. King and Bell teamed up again a few minutes later but the keeper got her hands on it. Dunn and Grimmer had chances in the final minute.

Philomath obviously had more talent on the field than the opponent and was using the field time to fine-tune its attack.

“We talked about having good awareness, knowing where our teammates are at, being proactive instead of reactive, so just working on those little things and then working on our touch a little bit better,” PHS coach Mat Phelps said.

Philomath junior Madyx Mooney had a goal and an assist in Tuesday’s win over the Lions. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

The game ended up extending well into the second half and was finally a wrap on a Bell goal in the 65th minute with an assist to sophomore Lucy King.

“It was important for us to stay focused throughout the whole game,” said Bell, who put on a passing clinic against the Lions. “We fell apart a little bit towards the end but definitely getting out to a strong start was really positive.”

Bell’s presence on the field loomed large not only as a player for Cottage Grove to keep an eye on but as a positive force for the Warrior attack.

“She’s really good … it’s fun to watch and she just has great vision, sees the field,” Phelps said. “I think it elevates her teammates as well.”

Bell likes to score and her role in the midfield limits those opportunities. But she’s not complaining.

“It’s really fun to set up my teammates and it feels almost as good as scoring myself to have a good assist,” she said. “That’s been kind of my role so far this year. I’m looking forward to getting into the attack a little bit more towards the end of the season.”

Philomath’s Kateri Pindell controls the ball on the defensive end. (Photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

Phelps felt good about the win even though the team did go through some struggles for several minutes in the second half.

“We definitely came out with a funk … I think we kind of took the foot off the gas a little bit and our lineup was different than normal,” Phelps said. “I think it’s OK to have those moments where we recognize, ‘hey, we’ve got to stay focused.’”

Philomath had a scary stretch in the second half with Grimmer and Maggie King both leaving with injuries. Grimmer is the team’s most prolific scorer and has six goals already this season.

“I think they’re just little ankle injuries and hopefully it shouldn’t be anything that lasts too long,” Phelps said. “We’ve got a week and a half until our next game and so we can recover a little bit.”

Indeed, Philomath now takes a break from competition for nine days with the next contest scheduled for Sept. 14 at home against Estacada.

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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