The fire is now gone from the torch being carried by Lake Norman’s boys lacrosse team.
After nearly a full calendar year in hand, the reigning state champion Wildcats wound up watching the flame burn out following a 7-6 defeat against Greensboro Page. The loss came this week in second-round play in the ongoing N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A class playoffs.
Lake Norman entered the postseason with a No. 1 seed and seeking to successfully defend their state championship crown for a second time in program history and first as a 4A class kingpin. The Wildcats suffered the loss to end the hopes of this year’s squad becoming the third ever to emerge with a state title in tow.
With the setback sealed in the final period, the Wildcats close out their run as reigning NCHSAA 4A state champions with a 16-3 record.
Pitting their top-seeded status virtue of a repeat as the Conference 13’s regular-season and postseason tournament champion against that of No. 2 seeded Page, the Wildcats still remained in play after a 6-5 edge through the first three 12-minute periods.
However, the allowing of two more strikes on the part of Page’s Pirates over the course of the final drama-filled period forced Lake Norman to settle for just its second setback suffered an in-state foe.
Doing so at home where Lake Norman had failed to endure a defeat all season, the Wildcats parlayed three goals each during first and third periods to take the one-goal edge into the final frame.
Attacker Tucker Goodelle tallied three goals to help captain the charge, while Travis Maynard, Tyler Palehonki, Quinn Porter and Henry Heredia all provided additional offensive support with the striking of single scores each.
In goal, the Wildcats’ Ethan Hofert stuck his netted stick in front of as many as 11 shots for as many saves.
Even with the defeat, Lake Norman stretched its streak of consecutive state playoff appearances to 10 straight - the number of years the school’s program has been in existence.
The second-round elimination denied what could have potentially been Lake Norman’s sixth all-time appearance in the state’s boys lacrosse finals and fourth in succession.
The Wildcats continue to remain the boys lacrosse program in the state with the most number of championship match appearances and one of only two programs in the state with more than one title.
The boys lacrosse program at Lake Norman remains one of two at the school to boast of multiple state championships. The school’s boys soccer team also has two crowns to show to its credit as well. Programs in girls lacrosse as well as boys tennis, boys basketball, boys swimming and baseball all have one championship each to call their own.