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PHS girls soccer: Braedyn McNeely

Braedyn McNeely, seen here controlling the ball in Philomath's first-round victory over Banks, scored the team's lone goal Saturday at Hidden Valley.

Philomath High's girls soccer team bowed out of the Class 4A state playoffs Saturday night in Grants Pass with a 5-1 loss at Hidden Valley.

Hidden Valley senior Nyah Kendall finished with a hat trick with two goals in the first half and her third coming in the second half.

Philomath coach Mat Phelps said both teams came out with a lot of energy and the Mustangs took advantage of an opportunity early to score the first goal, catching the Warriors' goalkeeper away from the net. The game was a mere 90 seconds old when the home team got on the scoreboard.

But Philomath responded immediately by finding the net less than a half-minute later.

"Right after the kickoff, we went straight down the field," Phelps said. "Braedyn (McNeely) had a great shot from the outside above the keeper."

Quincey Pittman was credited with an assist on McNeely's goal.

The two teams battled with the score at 1-1 until the Mustangs started to build momentum. Hidden Valley took a 2-1 lead and then dodged a bullet when Philomath couldn't finish on a 1-on-1 opportunity that materialized with Quincey Pittman taking the shot. Phelps said Hidden Valley's goalkeeper "made an unreal save" to keep her team on top.

The Mustangs added two more goals before the end of the half for a 4-1 lead at the break. Philomath had not allowed four goals against any opponent for an entire game this season, let alone one half.

"We just got out of rhythm and it was very physical," Phelps said. "They're the most physical team that we've played. We just weren't ready for it. They had a couple of breaks, an outside shot that went in, and we just weren't really ready to respond."

Phelps said Hidden Valley's ability to build that first-half lead deflated the Warriors.

"We had chances up until they got the third goal," Phelps said. "Once they got the third goal, our chances kind of diminished. It took the air out of the girls."

In the second half, Kendall scored her third goal to account for the final margin.

"She's just really fast and we lost track of her a couple of times," Phelps said. "We didn't play good team defense."

Phelps said the team didn't come out as strong as it should have for the second half. But the Warriors represented themselves well the rest of the way.

"After we gave up that last goal, over the last 35 minutes we played really strong," he said. "We had a number of chances. I thought the girls really showed some resolve just battling back and finishing hard the entire way."

Philomath finished with 12 shots on goal. Warriors keeper Kena Bacho had 11 saves.

The five goals were the most scored against the Warriors since a 5-0 setback to Yamhill-Carlton in early October during the 2017 season.

The Mustangs came into the quarterfinal matchup as the No. 1-seeded team in the playoffs. The team blanked Cottage Grove, 5-0, in the first round. Philomath, meanwhile, was seeded eighth and moved through the opening round with a 4-0 win over Banks.

Hidden Valley beat Philomath, 2-0, in the season opener. Since the game was so early, Phelps said it's too hard to tell what was so different this time around.

"More than anything, we just didn't play our game, especially in the first half," Phelps said. "We didn't get the chances that we normally get."

Philomath finishes the season with an 11-4-1 record. The Warriors had a 10-game unbeaten streak going through one stretch this season.

"It's always disappointing to lose, but I was proud of the girls," Phelps said. "I thought we had a good season."

The Oregon West Conference advanced two teams into the quarterfinals but both lost. Valley Catholic eliminated OWC champion Stayton, 2-0.

Hidden Valley goes to 15-1 and moves on to Tuesday's semifinals to face Marist Catholic.

Hidden Valley 5, Philomath 1

Saturday at Grants Pass

PHILOMATH (11-4-1)        1   0 — 1

HIDDEN VALLEY (15-1)     4   1 — 5

Note: Scoring summary not available.

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