Garner was as methodical as it was relentless Monday night in a 3-0 win over the East Wake girls soccer team.
The Trojans put two shots on goal in the first six minutes of the game, and while neither of the shots reached the net, they set the tone for much of the rest of the conference opener for both teams.
Garner (1-2 overall, 1-0 Greater Neuse River 4A Conference) used its speed and purposeful passing to generate a series of breakouts that ultimately produced some offense.
Bayleigh Adams started the assault for Garner with a hard shot on goal at the 37:09 mark that would have found its target except for a strong move to the left by East Wake keeper LA Tedder to stop the low shot.
Adams was back at it again a few minutes later when she gathered the ball and broke past the East Wake defense for another opportunity, but that effort was thwarted by center back Makenzie Gairrett.
Garner freshman Lily Schild was the next shooter to press East Wake’s defense, but her offering came up wide left at the 26:30 mark. Hannah Hamlin had one of the best looks at the goal at 18:13, but her rocket struck the crossbar and bounced harmlessly out of bounds.
Coach Joe Dennis said those missed shots will be a focus for his Trojans in their next game.
“We need to be a little more clinical when we get in those positions. We need to make those goals instead of having them go high or hit the side of the net,” Dennis said.
Garner finally got its first goal of the game at 12:28 when Hamlin put the ball in the back left of the goal after two players got tangled up in the box in front of Tedder.
Adams notched a goal with just over 1 minute left to play in the first half as she cleared the East Wake defense and took a close-range shot that rebounded off Tedder, who fell while trying to make the save. The loose ball settled in front of the net for Adams to tap in for a 2-0 Garner lead at halftime.
Garner got its final goal of the game in the 64th minute on a penalty kick by Michaela Wycoff. Officials gave Garner the penalty kick after calling a handball on East Wake inside the box. Wycoff’s shot slipped wide right of Tedder’s outstretched hands and nestled in the back of the net to close the scoring.
East Wake (0-2, 0-1) found it next to impossible to get the ball into Garner’s third of the field most of the night.
Coach Crystal Espey said her players got frustrated with the lack of offensive success, but she expects that to get better as the players get more time together. Weather kept East Wake from practicing since its season opener against Wake Forest on March 5.
“We’ve got to learn to move more without the ball and come to the ball,” Espey said. “If you’ve got the ball and no one is making themselves available, you really don’t have anywhere to go. We need to be able to see the field better.”