Dominating from the opening kick, the Philomath High girls soccer team just wasn't able to finish through most of the first half in a first-round Class 4A state playoff game Wednesday against visiting Banks.
"We were finding our way a little bit and we were playing a little bit different style," PHS coach Mat Phelps said. "But the opportunities were really good; it was just an unlucky break here, hit a post there."
Junior Halle Hewitt changed the game's feel in a hurry with two goals just one minute apart and sophomore Alivia Pittman returned to the lineup and scored just before halftime in what ended up as a 4-0 victory for the eighth-seeded Warriors. The fourth goal came about midway through the second half off freshman Ella Weickum's foot.
Philomath (11-3-1) moves on to the quarterfinals for a likely matchup at No. 1-seeded Hidden Valley Saturday. Hidden Valley was scheduled to host the No. 16 seed, Cottage Grove, Wednesday evening.
"We started looking at people who were open on the other side instead of just going to people straight on the outside closest," said senior Madison Rogers, who set up Hewitt on the first two goals.
Philomath's first goal materialized on a counter move.
"Halle went through the middle past the defense and I just knew she was faster than the back line and their goalie wouldn't come out," Rogers said about her first assist. "She made a great shot."
Hewitt's second goal mirrored the first but on the latter opportunity, the shot didn't really come out of a counter, but just within the natural flow of the team's play.
"The ball moving quickly, that's what we're looking to do," Phelps said. "Find each other's feet and move the ball and when the ball works quickly, we get good chances."
Shortly after scoring the first two, Rogers barely missed her first goal of the season on a pass from Hewitt. In the 39th minute, Pittman scored with an assist going to sophomore Braedyn McNeely. Pittman had been sidelined with a possible concussion.
"She is really good going outside so feeding her and having her just cross it in is a big help," Rogers said about what Pittman's return means to the lineup. "We definitely had to look at different things when she wasn't in. But now that she's back, it's a lot easier with our crosses and speed."
Senior Quincey Pittman said her younger sister brings energy to the team. Hewitt's talents, she said, are also important to the attack.
"We had so many shots and didn't make any of them," Quincey Pittman said about the early going. "When Halle came in, she's usually our finisher. She's really good at getting her foot on the ball and getting it into the net."
In the second half, Banks never threatened on offense on more than a couple of occasions and even then, Philomath easily defended. In the 58th minute, Weickum scored with an assist from Alivia Pittman.
"Once we broke through, we knew we could do it and we just kept doing it again," Phelps said about his offense.
Banks, seeded ninth, finishes the season at 8-3-3.
Philomath 4, Banks 0
Wednesday at Philomath
BANKS (8-3-3) 0 0 — 0
PHILOMATH (11-3-1) 3 1 — 4
First half — 1, Philomath, Halle Hewitt (Madison Rogers), 29th minute; 2, Philomath, Halle Hewitt (Madison Rogers), 30th minute; 3, Philomath, Alivia Pittman (Braedyn McNeely), 39th minute.
Second half — 4, Philomath, Ella Weickum (Alivia Pittman), 58th minute.