Just four years ago, Petey Fabian had never played an organized game of lacrosse in his life.Fabian said he originally decided to play as a freshman at Lake Norman Charter because that’s what a lot of his closest friends were doing.“At first, I really wasn’t that good at all and I was kind of hard on myself because I just expect to be good at everything because I was always a pretty good athlete,” said Fabian, who is also wide receiver on the football team, making 42 catches for seven touchdowns this past season. “But I got better and kept working on my game because I enjoyed it. I got more and more comfortable and confident in my abilities on the field.”After spending nearly his entire freshman year with Knights’ junior varsity team, Fabian split time on JV and varsity his sophomore season and started to become a factor for the Lake Norman Charter offense. Last year, Fabian had a breakout junior campaign, with a team-best with 53 goals and 25 assists (second on team behind Josh Ford), earning both all-conference and all-region honors.Fabian said being a left-hander with good speed helps him because it throws defenders off.“Any time you have a natural left hander with his ability it is a huge advantage,” Lake Norman Charter lacrosse coach Matt Wiehl said. “Petey not only has talent but he can get the ball into positions and angles that most defenders and goalkeepers aren’t used to seeing.”Fabian has grown from a 5-foot-5, 120-pound freshman to a 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior.“Petey was a short, stocky little kid when he got here,” Wiehl said. “But he’s not only grown physically, but also become one of best attackers in the area and possibly even the state in my opinion.”Fabian will have help all over the field, starting with junior midfielder Hudson Harris, who was second on the team with 36 goals last year.Wiehl also expects players like seniors Chase Burton and Blythe Tegland, and sophomore Neil Baugh to help the offense. Senior goalkeeper Michael Clark will lead the Knights’ defense after notching 171 saves and “keeping his team in a lot of games,” according to Wiehl.Clark is following in the footsteps of older brother, John, who was a four-year starter for the Knights.Clark has experienced defenders with him, including senior Truman Spittel and junior Griffin Stechmiller, who led the team with 120 groundballs last season and is a tough faceoff guy, along with Harris.Wiehl, the Conference 10 coach of the year last season, notes there are even more young Knights with a chance to have breakout seasons this year.The combination of talent has the Knights , which have gone 24-11 over the past two seasons, including 14-3 in conference play, believing they can take another step in 2014.Fabian said their goal is knock off a team like conference rival Lake Norman, or Marvin Ridge, who have been their biggest road blocks in the past.Wiehl said his team has lost nine times in the past three years to Lake Norman, finishing second in league play each year.“The next step for this team is definitely beating a team like Lake Norman,” Fabian said. “We got close last year (8-5 loss at Lake Norman), but we still haven’t beat them.”The state championship changed this year, with the 1A, 2A and 3A teams playing for one title and the 4A teams for another. Whether the Knights overcome the 4A Wildcats or not, they still could make a deep run in playoffs.Fabian wants to keep playing as long as possible this season and hopefully in the future.Fabian said he has some college interest from Nazareth (N.Y.) College, but is also considering walking on at schools like such as North Carolina or University of Richmond.First, he wants to enjoy every minute of his senior season.“I can’t wait to get this year started,” Fabian said. “I feel like we have a great team and great chemistry. We are ready to make a run and have a nice, long season.”
Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2014
Lake Norman Charter’s Fabian grows into an impact player for Knights
Five boys’ lacrosse players to watch
• Petey Fabian, Lake Norman Charter, Sr. – Attackman, 6-foot-1, 165 pounds. All-conference and all-region selection led Knights with 53 goals, 25 assists last year.
• Michael Clark, Lake Norman Charter, Sr. -- Goalkeeper, 5-foot-7, 160 pounds. Following in the footsteps of his older brother, John, as an all-conference, all-region goalkeeper with 171 saves last year.
• Jonathan Oracion, Hough, Soph. – Attackman, 5-foot-8, 150 pounds. Back to lead Husky offense with all-conference senior Joey Ruggerio (26 goals, 18 assists last year) after earning all-conference honorable mention as a freshman with 29 goals, 16 assists.
• Frankie Walsh, Hough, Sr. – Defender, 5-foot-9, 160 pounds. All-conference defender, co-captain is the most accomplished and experienced player on the back line.
• Chris Lutzel, SouthLake Christian, Jr. – Defender, 6-foot, 225 pounds. Major Division I football recruit as a long snapper and all-state center is also a standout defender for Eagles as they look to make strides in their second year as a program.
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Jay? Email him at email@example.com.
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