What surfaced to initially help Lake Norman’s volleyball team during the course of earlier play in the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A class postseason play came back to haunt it in the end.
Perhaps befitting the traditional Halloween-season theme, the Wildcats followed the state’s seeding status for a second straight time in dropping a 3-1 decision to much-higher standing Northwest Guilford during second-round play in the ongoing playoffs.
After previously backing its own billing to capture an an-expected favorable outcome during its previous first-round effort, Lake Norman bowed down to the same such seeding standard in the second round.
Following a successful official third-place finish in the I-Meck Conference and fashioning advancement as deep as that circuit’s semifinal round of league tournament play, the Wildcats closed up business for their season owning an overall 17-11 record.
Matched up opposite a Northwest Guilford crew owning the West Region’s No. 2 seed and well refreshed from receiving a first-round bye from NCHSAA 4A class postseason play, Lake Norman fended off elimination once before falling from the field to once again obey the overall seeding status.
For the record, the Wildcats were dealt defeat by the at-home Vikings in game-by-game scores of 25-13, 25-20, 18-25 and 25-16.
As is the case with all high school varsity-level volleyball affairs, matches are played under a best-of-five-games format. As a result, the first team to triumph three times is declared the winner.
Lake Norman gave it a good shot, owning as much as a 19-16 lead in the second game of the series before falling victim to a late run. A bid to extend their stay proved to be a success in the third game of the set resulting in a win on the part of the Wildcats that forced a fourth — and ultimately decisive — game to take place. A loss there brought the LNHS season to an end.
They were paced at the net by the combined play of Courtney Storm, Alexis Hardison and Ava Arriviello, as the trio racked up a total of 17 net kills between them each worth a team point apiece during the match.
Also for Lake Norman, the duo of Madison Sawyer and Hannah Masucci accounted for five blunted blocks apiece.
Spreading out the damage, the Wildcats’ Jadyn Bishop dished out 14 assists.
As small consolation, Lake Norman closed out its season with the loss to a Northwest Guilford team that advanced as far as this weekend’s fourth-round play equivalent to the West Region finals and one more win away from making it to later this month’s NCHSAA 4A state finals.
Lake Norman was one of two of the initial three teams hailing from the I-Meck to fall from play in the postseason’s second round. Only regular-season league champion Hough High earned the right to reach third-round play before also having its season draw to a close. Mallard Creek, runner-up during the regular season, also bowed out in the second round of the playoffs.
The state championship volleyball matches in all four classifications will be contested Nov. 9 in Fayetteville State University’s Capel Arena.