The short end of the stick.

In more ways than one, that’s precisely what Lake Norman’s boys soccer team wound up holding following opening-round play in the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A class postseason play.

The Wildcats were the higher-seeded entry but suffered a 2-1, season-ending defeat dropped at the feet of Ronald Reagan- the largest upset registered during first-round play in the NCHSAA’s West Region bracket.

Lake Norman, owner of the No. 13 seed, came up just short opposite a No. 23-seeded Ronald Reagan entry to emerge as the highest-seeded entry to endure such a surprising setback on the first full night of the playoffs.

With the surprising outcome, the Wildcats complete their season with an 11-9-2 overall record.

The loss was just the second suffered by Lake Norman, the runner-up during the course of regular-season play within its I-Meck Conference ranks, over the course of its last 10 matches dating all the way back to late September. It also snapped a three-match winning streak — the second longest of the season overall — the Wildcats took with them into the first-round phase of second-season competition.

The loss came at the hands of an incoming Reagan entry that fashioned a fifth-place finish among the six teams totals comprising its Central Piedmont Conference.

Seeking to make the most of the home field advantage, Lake Norman managed to keep the contest close from start to finish. This continued a season-long troubling trend of being unable to register a win over a non-conference foe throughout the course of regular-season and — as it turned out — postseason play.

No additional individual information was available.

Play in the ongoing NCHSAA boys soccer playoffs continues through the crowning of the respective four classification state champions that will take place later this month.

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