PHS girls soccer: Elizabeth Leal-Morales

Philomath High’s Elizabeth Leal-Morales, a freshman on the girls soccer team, works with the ball during last week’s game against Hidden Valley.

The Week Ahead

Football — The Warriors will play its first home game Friday night with a visit from Siuslaw, which Philomath defeated 33-8 last season. PHS coach Tony Matta expects the Vikings, which lost 30-26 in Week 1 to Elmira, to be better this season. “They have a new coach and they’re learning a new system,” Matta said. “They were young and I think with the experience those kids got, they’ll be a decent team. It’ll be a good second test for us.”

Cross-country — The Warriors will run on a conventional cross-country course for the first time this season with an appearance at the Northwest Classic at Lane Community College down in Eugene. Philomath will actually run against many of the same schools that it saw up in Tillamook. This meet will go on for much of the day from 10 a.m.to around 4 p.m. The 1A-4A varsity squads should be running at 11 a.m. (girls) and 11:40 a.m. (boys).

Boys soccer — Philomath heads to Sweet Home Thursday for a 6:30 p.m. match and plays at home this coming Tuesday to face Cascade. The Huskies lost to Elmira in their opener 5-1 while the Cougars were 3-0 winners over North Bend in their opening game. The Warriors went 3-0-1 against those two opponents combined last season.

Girls soccer — The Warriors opened the week with a key game at Stayton and will next face Sweet Home in a home appearance on Thursday. The Huskies headed into this week with an 0-0-1 record from a scoreless tie against Elmira. Last year, Philomath swept Sweet Home by scores of 5-0 and 8-1. Philomath will play this coming Tuesday at Cascade.

Volleyball — The volleyball squad will play at home Thursday against Sweet Home in an important early-season matchup. The Huskies are looking pretty good so far with sweeps in every match en route to a 4-0 start heading into this week. This coming Tuesday, the Warriors head to Cascade, a team off to an 0-2 start last week. Philomath went 6-1 in sets against the Cougars last year.

Five Things

• Despite losing all-conference performer Lindsey Luke to graduation, the Warriors haven’t missed a beat so far on the defensive end with junior Claire Skinkis stepping into the role of libero and defensive specialist. Utilizing a statistic that measures effectiveness on receiving serves and passing, Skinkis has graded well above the average score and best on the team in that category.

• Philomath has a 3-7 record against Siuslaw since 1962. The Warriors’ three victories came in 1999 (23-20 in double overtime), 2000 (36-7 rout) and 2018 (33-8 win on the road). Since the Vikings beat the Warriors 26-25 in OT back in 2001, the last three meetings have all been decided by 35, 36 and 25 points.

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• Cross-country coach Joe Fulton said he likes Philomath’s schedule this year with a mix of challenging and fast courses. This Saturday, the team heads down to Eugene to run the route that’s used for the state meet. Besides that crazy course near Tillamook this past weekend, the schedule also includes one of the steepest hills seen in cross-country at the Harrier’s Challenge in Cottage Grove, a golf course route at Toledo and a preview of the Oregon West meet with an Oct. 3 appearance in the Regis/Stayton Invite

• Five different players have been directly involved with Philomath’s four goals so far this season in boys soccer. Sophomore Mark Grimmer has scored twice, foreign-exchange student Julius Hoffman has one goal and one assist and senior Bryce Beeton has two assists. Junior Andrew Mecham has a goal and junior Nick Stucki has an assist.

• The girls soccer team had its first 0-2 start since 2015 when the Warriors opened with losses of 4-1 to Oregon Episcopal and 3-2 to North Bend. That team rebounded to finish 9-5-2 overall and qualified for the state playoffs.

By the Numbers

45% — The success rate on third and fourth down combined in Philomath’s season opener at Junction City. The Warriors moved the chains 7 of 15 times on third down and 2 of 5 times on fourth down. In comparison, Junction City had an 18 percent success rate (1 of 8 on third down, 1 of 3 on fourth).

4 — The number of passes Philomath High’s boys soccer team made after the opening kick-off to score a goal about 20 seconds into the contest Saturday. The Warriors won its home opener over Gladstone, 2-0.

1 — The number of shoes that Philomath varsity cross-country runners lost Saturday in the Ultimook Race’s mud pit.

In the Books

50 years ago — Just as Philomath did last week, the 1969 version of the high school cross-country team competed in a meet at Tillamook. According to the Sept. 12, 1969 edition of the Corvallis Gazette-Times, Philomath placed fifth in the 10-team Tillamook Invitational. Lake Oswego won with 24 points followed by Tigard, West Linn, Tillamook, Philomath, Dallas, Oregon City, Forest Grove, Gladstone and Wahtonka. Don Byers placed 14th for Philomath’s top individual finish.

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Compiled by Brad Fuqua