The Lake Norman boys' soccer team has dominated the state like no other team in any sport for the last two seasons. The Wildcats are not only a perfect 56-0 with two straight state championships, but also have outscored their opponents 239-22 in that span.
Nine games short of the state record of 65 wins in a row, the Wildcats are starting over with just one starter returning from last year's team. However, Lake Norman has one major constant coming back in head coach Jon Mertes, who has been with Lake Norman since the program started in 2001 (six years as an assistant).
“It's hard not to think about the streak (56 wins in a row),” said Mertes, whose boys' team last lost Nov. 12, 2005, to Mooresville in the state quarterfinals. “But I think we've basically got a whole new team coming in (this season). This team will have to be focused every minute of every game. There's not as much room for error (with this team).”
Senior captain Joe Hughes is the lone returning starter, and will direct the team on both sides of the ball from his central midfield position. Midfielder Marty Myslinski and forward Parker Cromie will lead the offense and must replace Lake Norman's all-time leading goal scorer Matt Foxx. Senior central defender Dominic Dremel will lead the defense with goalkeepers Dalton Bauer and Nick Hensley splitting time.
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If they keep winning, the Wildcats will have a chance to tie the record Sept. 17 when they play North Iredell and a chance to break the record at home when entertaining Northwest Cabarrus Sept. 22.