Danny Brown had one of the best lacrosse seasons of any player across North Carolina last year.
As only a sophomore, the Lake Norman attackman scored 45 goals and recorded 30 assists to lead the Wildcats to a conference title.
He hopes to do that and much more this season.
Brown is an athletic lefty, who utilizes his speed and agility to get an upper hand on his opponents.
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"The game just opened up for me last year," said Brown of his break-out season.
Lake Norman coach Kevin Gowin said Brown just has a knack for the sport.
"We haven't had many players like him come along," he said. "It's great to have a kid like that on your team."
Despite his eye-catching stats last year, Brown still sees room for improvement.
"I've been working on my game, hitting the wall, running and hitting the weights - just anything I can do to get better," said Brown, who moved to North Carolina after fifth grade from Michigan.
The junior said all aspects of his game have developed in the offseason, especially his ability to shoot with his right hand.
Brown knows he will face extra attention this year after the season he had, but he isn't too worried about that.
"I thrive under pressure," the 17-year-old said.
Gowin hopes Brown will be able to pick up right where he left off.
"If he can put up those numbers he did last season that would be great, but if not, he can give it up so other people can get us points," said Gowin.
Brown will have the pieces surrounding him to do just that.
The Wildcats return all 10 of their starters from last year's 15-3 team that made it to the second round of the NCHSAA playoffs, when they lost to eventual state champs Myers Park 7-6.
Lake Norman is talented from top to bottom. In addition to Brown, the Wildcats return junior attackmen Will Scott, who had 45 goals and 14 assists, and Max Copeland, who added 44 goals and 24 assists, to lead a potent offense.
"We have a lot of talent, but the reason we're able to score so much is that there aren't many selfish players," said Gowin. "They just have a strong desire to win and they will do their role to make that happen."
On defense, senior long-stick midfielder/defender Patrick Wurtz, who won 76 groundballs and had 29 takeaways last year, and senior goalie Alex Bobyarchick, who recorded 116 saves last season, lead the way.
"The best offense is a good defense," said Brown. "Our defense is probably the best in the state."
Gowin said in the first few weeks of practice, he's noticed the Wildcats are playing better together, getting a feel of each other's tactics and preferences on the field.
Lake Norman has set several goals for the year. The most immediate one is to win another Conference 10 title. Their biggest roadblock will be Lake Norman Charter, which returns midfielders Jake Koferl and Grayson Spittel as well as attackman Andrew Gobble. The three Knights combined for 81 goals and 46 assists last year.
First-year Hough and Hopewell could be a factor, while Mooresville is going through a rebuilding year. North Mecklenburg will not field a team this season.
Lake Norman Charter will travel to Lake Norman today, trying to prove they can hang with the conference favorites.
The Wildcats don't want to get ahead of themselves, but they're also looking ahead to May, when they hope to finish the season as state champs.
"We definitely have the potential to do it, but it's a matter of (the players) keeping their work ethic up and honing their skills," said Gowin.
"We have to earn it; it's not given to us," he said. "If we keep working hard, we can get there."