The South Garner High campus serving as a two-year temporary home for Garner High received capacity test on Friday as the host site of three N.C. High School Athletic Association 4A playoff matches.
The popular viewing spot was outside the softball field’s right post.
From elevated vantage point, you could simultaneously keep an eye on the baseball game below and softball before you. Administrators in golf carts used that as their central location, too. The soccer match in the stadium was out of sight, but it was within listening range – crowd noise– and walking distance.
But the unique day turned out to be a long one for the Garner Trojans. Only the softball team advanced to the next round of the playoffs. The Trojans’ softball team held off Panther Creek, 1-0.
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On the other fields the Trojans’ baseball team lost to Cardinal Gibbons, 14-2, and the girls soccer fell to Fuquay-Varina, 5-1.
The Bengals’ girls soccer team still painfully remembers last year’s second-round playoffs upset loss at home on penalty kicks to Holly Springs. So far they haven’t taken chances on close games this season, defeating Garner 5-1 after opening the tournament with a 4-1 victory Clayton.
“That game motivates us,” said Hannah McClaugherty, a senior and team captain. “We know our season can end with one game.”
The Western Carolina-bound McClaugherty outscored the Trojans herself with a hat trick. Her first-half goal helped the Bengals cling to a 2-1 halftime lead until she added two more in the second half.
Freshman Josey Wilson joined her with a first-half goal and sophomore Tori Gagliardi in the second half.
“It’s playoff time,” McClaugherty said. “You have to work as a family in the playoffs. We came out strong. Everyone did their part and relied on each other connecting the ball.”
Garner’s Kasey Adams cored the Trojans’ goal after Fuquay had taken a 2-0 lead.
“They’re a tough team,” Garner coach Jennifer Enyeart said. “We couldn’t get out passing sequences going, and they had two great breakaways and set pieces.”
Fuquay advanced to the third round on Wednesday.