Photo: emx_20200520_mot_sports-driveby_p1_Soccer seniors showered by extended-day special drive-by salute

Lake Norman soccer senior co-captain Haley Stoup stands surrounded by parting gifts presented on behalf of the program by Wildcats head coach Matt Bice.  

Once simply wasn’t enough.

So, to make amends, the Lake Norman High School girls soccer team actually spent an extended three-day weekend to acknowledge appreciation for the contributions of some of its parting participants.

Deemed a special “Senior Night at the Lake — Mobile Version” celebration, a caravan of players, coaches and additional supporters of the Wildcats paid visits to the homes of each of the team’s 14 different seniors as part of a season-ending drive-by salute.

“It’s our tradition that each of the underclass players present a gift basket to each senior,’’ said Matt Bice, Lake Norman’s head soccer coach. “I really appreciate the efforts of all of the underclassmen to make our drive-by caravan special for our seniors. We strive to be a family. I think that was very evident.”

It took time to make all the traveling arrangements complete.

The trek actually began on a Friday, and the ceremony continued into the following Sunday evening. The first two days, the group made appearances at the residences of each of the 14 seniors. In addition to the gift packages provided by all of the team’s non-senior players, the seniors were also the recipients of a framed jersey, an individual photo, a team photo and a senior-only keepsake shot.

On the final day of the affair, the team conducted a virtual online Zoom chat during which those seniors turned the tables by handing down items to each underclass teammate. Those particular items could take the shape of words of wisdom, caution and encouragement, to name just a few of the options.

Lake Norman’s season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Wildcats had only just begun their schedule in early March before the decision was made to first suspend and then terminate the schedule for all of the state’s high school spring sports.

“Of course,’’ said Bice, “we all hate the fact that we did not have a season. Like some other good teams, we’re confident that we would have been a state contender this year. We lost only one starting player from last year’s 17-3 team. Without a doubt, we would have been really good!”{/div}

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