The silence was downright deafening on the sidelines of Lake Norman’s girls soccer team.

It followed a rare less-than-noisy experience by the Wildcats out on the field as well in second-round play in the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A playoffs.

Lake Norman was held without a score for the first time all season and allowed a lone second-half strike as the difference in a 1-0 defeat by Hickory Ridge.

With the loss, the Wildcats put the finishing touches on their season with an overall 17-3 record.

The setback was just the second suffered by Lake Norman in its last 15 appearances and was the first by an opponent outside its I-Meck Conference ranks.

As it turned out, all remaining fellow league members also suffered defeats as both regular-season champion Hough High and fourth-place finisher Mallard Creek were ousted from the NCHSAA’s West Region field.

Seeking to capitalize on fresh feet courtesy of being the recipient of a first-round bye and make the most of its higher-seeded status, Lake Norman came up short in both regards.

The Wildcats were accorded the 32-team pool’s No. 7 status as reward for an outright runner-up placement in the I-Meck in the regular season and were also handed one of the eight first-round byes.

Paired up against No. 10-seeded Hickory Ridge, the Wildcats battled the opposing Raging Bulls on dead-even scoreless terms throughout the first half resulting in the 0-0 tie at the intermission break.

During the second half, Hickory Ridge – based out of Cabarrus County and the regular season runner-up within its Southwestern Conference – landed what proved to be the lone tally for their second such decision by the same score during its first two postseason appearances.

The only other defeats endured by Lake Norman all season came in the pair of regular season meetings with fellow I-Meck member Hough.

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