Garner Cleveland: Sports

Garner outscores Clayton

That scoreless draw Garner and Clayton played back in their Greater Neuse River 4A opener was something the Trojans thought needed fixing.

And on Wednesday night on the road, they did something about it.

Bayleigh Adams scored a pair of goals while Michaela Wycoff added a goal and an assist, giving the Trojans a 4-2 victory over the Comets.

The win improved Garner to 4-6-1, 4-2-1 in conference action, while Clayton fell to 4-6-1 and 3-3-1.

“We’ve played a few more games now,” Garner coach Joe Dennis said. “We’re getting used to playing with each other and the system we want to play with.

“We’ve made a few changes in what we do because of injuries. And we had a lot of energy tonight. We really controlled the middle.”

Turning point: Sarah Hamlin scored a goal on a header with 25 seconds left in the half to give Garner a 3-2 lead, just three minutes after Marisa Riggins had tied the score for the Comets.

Highlight reel: Both teams scored goals on blasts from the outside.

Clayton made it 1-0 on captain Nicole Sainz’ free kick from about 30 yards out on the right side.

Garner made it 4-2 on Michaela Wycoff’s rocket from about 30 yards out in the middle of the field in the 51st minute.

“I was open so I just decided to take a shot,” Wycoff said. “We controlled the ball a lot better and used each other well today. Coach put another player in the middle and it helped us control the game better.”

What worked: Bayleigh Adams scored back-to-back goals in traffic for Garner, one from about 10 yards out on the left side on Heather Wilfong’s assist in the 17th minute and another from the top of the box with Wycoff on the assist about five minutes later.

“Michaela gave me a great pass,” Adams said. “We’re really good at give-and-gos together, and when we do that we get goals.

“We really wanted to win this one after tying the first one. I think we’ve improved a lot. Our passing has gotten better.”

What didn’t work: Clayton’s defense. Hamlin’s goal was close to being an “own goal” by the Comets, as it was unclear whether or not the header also ricocheted off a home team head.

“The way it went was disappointing,” Clayton coach William Williams said. “We needed to jump and knock that one out and we didn’t get it done.

“The first half was the best half of offense we had played all year and the worst half of defense. We’ve got a very experienced defensive line. We knew (Adams) was fast and we didn’t get back. When that happened the second time, it showed we weren’t focused.”

Feeling the impact: The win broke a tie for fourth place in the conference, leaving the Comets all alone in fifth, which is the final state playoff spot.