The Lake Norman boys' soccer team lost its first game in more than two years last month when archrival Mooresville shocked the Wildcats, 2-0, on their home field to end their 60-game winning streak.
But Wednesday night, Lake Norman got its revenge by scoring on a penalty kick with five minutes left in the game to outlast Mooresville 3-2. That gave the Wildcats (13-1) the edge in the North Piedmont conference chase and handed the Blue Devils (13-1-2) their first loss of the season.
“I think we wanted it more (than Mooresville) last night,” Lake Norman coach Jon Mertes said, adding that Mooresville is a great team. “When we come with the right intensity and focus, we can be a very good team.”
Lake Norman, No. 5 in the state, has been a different team since losing to Mooresville. The Wildcats have won nine games in a row, outscoring their opponents 47-7 in that span.
Senior Joe Hughes (12 goals) and junior Parker Cromie (17 goals) have been the main catalysts in the run.
“The challenge with this team is to be mentally prepared for each game,” Mertes said. “I think we are starting to play the soccer were capable of.”
If the Wildcats can hold on to win the NPC, they would get the home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Lake Norman will have a chance to win its third straight state title in a row.
Hughes draws interest
Lake Norman senior Joe Hughes is being heavily recruited to play for Georgia Southern, according to Mertes. Hughes, a central mid-fielder, will probably move to the outside on the next level because of his 4.4 (40-yard dash) speed. Hughes could become college teammates with Mertes' son, Ryan Mertes, if he chooses Georgia Southern.
Mooresville, No. 4 in the state (3A), got two goals from Carson Smith in the loss to Lake Norman…The South Iredell boys' soccer team (12-1, 8-0 in the Southern Piedmont) is also hot after winning seven consecutive games. The Vikings, led by coach David Basinger, are No. 9 in the state (2A) and have outscored their opponents 74-20 on the season. South Iredell has the inside track to win the Southern Piedmont conference if it can beat East Lincoln Thursday night… East Lincoln (12-2, 6-1) has a four-game winning streak. The Mustangs are right behind the Vikings at No. 11 in the state (2A).
Curry bound for Harvard
Hopewell guard Brandyn Curry verbally committed to play basketball at Harvard next season. Curry, the ME-CA 7 player of the year last season, averaged 17 points and six assists, leading the Titans to a 22-6 record.
Curry was equally impressive off the court with a 4.65 grade-point average. At Harvard, Curry will play for former Duke star Tommy Amaker.
Curry will join his AAU teammate Dee Giger at Harvard. Giger plays high school basketball for the Christ School near Asheville.
Mooresville wins invite
The Mooresville boys' cross country team won the Wendy's Invitational at McAlpine Park for its third win in five meets this season. The Blue Devils, No. 1 in the state in 3A, were paced by Joseph Newman, who placed first overall in the Wendy's race. Four other Blue Devils, including Graham Sledge and Josh Cox, finished in the top 20.
Mooresville is hoping to peak Nov. 1, when it could have a chance to win its third straight state championship.
“We're running the best we have all year,” Mooresville coach Mike Serefine said. “I think it shows our training is progressing. Right now, we are right where we want to be.”
Pinkston running wild
Jjshaun Pinkston continues to run at a record pace for the Mooresville football team. Pinkston rushed for 213 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries last week, to bring his season totals to 1,219 yards and 17 touchdowns. Pinkston, who has also led his team to a 5-1 start, now has rushed for more than 200 yards in four of his six games.
Staff writer Langston Wertz contributed.