Before this spring, Davidson Day School had never won a Southern Piedmont Athletic Association title in any sport.
The Davidson Day girls' soccer team has changed that, winning the SPAA crown last week. The title came in the midst of what, in more than one way, has become a record-breaking season for the Patriots (16-5-1 overall, 8-0 conference).
Ranked No. 1 in the state among private/independent schools, the Patriots entered the playoffs Saturday with school records for most wins (16) and goals (118) in a season.
"It was really cool to be the first team at our school to win a conference title," said girls' soccer coach Chad Metzler, adding that the Patriots golf team also won the conference this spring, a few days after the soccer team clinched its title. "Everything has been very positive with this team, and the student body has gotten behind them."
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While the Patriots continue to break records, so does senior forward Bri Wills, who now has scored 67 goals (through Friday), a record for the school as well as for Mecklenburg County. Wills, who has committed to Appalachian State, has a chance to break the state record of 76 goals in a season, if her team can make a deep playoff run.
"I think Bri got wrapped up in whole scoring thing earlier this season," Metzler said. He and the team are proud of Wills' record, he said. "But I think she has put that on the back burner. If you asked Bri, she would take a state championship over the state (scoring) record."
While Wills has dominated the headlines for her team, she isn't even the player of the year in her own conference. Her teammate, sophomore midfielder Caitlyn Rodriguez (9 goals, 32 assists), earned that honor. Freshman Max Foster has also stood out with 13 goals and 25 assists.
But no matter what their statistics say, the only things the Patriots are really focused on right now are winning games and finishing with a state title.
"Winning a state championship has been our goal since the beginning of the year," Metzler said. "We are cautiously optimistic because we know we have the team and the talent to win it. But nobody is just going to give us the crown."
Hopewell's tennis team also is going somewhere they have never been before: the state quarterfinals.
The Titans and coach Craig Smith hope to take it to the next level when they host Ardrey Kell at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Hopewell (18-3, 7-0), ranked No. 10 in the state, dispatched both Winston-Salem R.J. Reynolds and Greensboro Grimsley by 5-1 scores in the opening rounds of the 4A playoffs.
The Titans' veteran squad includes five seniors in their top six: John David Curlis, Tyler Roberts, Brian Andersen, Chris Hourihan and Danny Wintermeier. Junior John Armato is also a big contributor.
Hopewell also won its second consecutive I-Meck title and its fifth conference title since 2004 (including the former I-Meck Conference) this year.
State of gymnastics
More than 300 of the state's best gymnasts will descend on Huntersville next weekend for the N.C. Amateur Athletic Union state meet at Lake Norman Charter School.
Huntersville's own club team, White Lightning Gymnastics, is host for the meet, which will run 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. next Sunday.
My column in the Neighbors for May 1 incorrectly reported the Lake Norman softball team's finish in the I-Meck regular season in 2010. North Mecklenburg won the 2010 regular-season conference crown. Lake Norman won the 2011 regular-season title.