Lacrosse is not as popular in North Carolina as it is in other parts of the country.
But local coaches and athletes said they're starting to see a change.
"I think people are seeing the excitement of the sport - it's definitely a spectators' sport, it's a fast-paced game and that's what people like to watch," North Mecklenburg head coach Anthony Puma said.
In its second year at both Hopewell and North Mecklenburg - and its first year as a NCHSAA sport - lacrosse is flourishing around the area.
Dylan Knight, a senior midfielder for the Vikings, said that he's noticed an increase in interest in the sport, with higher attendance at Vikings games and around the community in general.
"You walk through the neighborhood and you see kids - 10 years old or younger - playing lacrosse," Knight said. "You wouldn't have seen this when we were growing up."
Until last year, schools did not have their own lacrosse teams. Players all over the Lake Norman area - and even from Cabarrus County - came to play for North Mecklenburg Lacrosse's club team, coached by Chris Diamond.
Building high school teams from the ground up was challenging for those involved in the programs.
Both Puma and Hopewell lacrosse coach Daniel McMahon said a large part of their teams last year had little to no lacrosse experience.
McMahon said about 25 of his 42 players had never touched a lacrosse stick before their first practice last year.
Hunter Wilson, a senior middie for the Titans, was one of those players. He was convinced by some friends to give lacrosse a try.
Wilson said the coaching staff had to teach him the sport's basics.
"It was rough at times because a lot of guys couldn't even throw and catch - that makes it very hard to play the sport," he said.
Hopewell had only one win during the season, while their rivals, North Meck, wrapped up last season with a surprising 8-11 record.
Both teams have improved this season. The Vikings are 6-4 and have a strong chance of earning a spot in the playoffs.
The Titans already have three wins and have surpassed last season's goal total in their first five games.
"This team is a testament of how the sport is growing around here," McMahon said.
Inexperience is still very much a factor for both teams this season.
Puma said his Vikings still have 10 players on the roster who have less than one year of experience in the sport.
"That's the biggest problem this year - after the top 10 players, we drop off a considerable amount and can't compete," he said.
A big improvement this season has been that both teams now have JV teams, which will allow players to gain experience before getting to the varsity level.
Puma said he foresees a bright future for lacrosse in the area.
"I see this sport coming along very, very fast," he said. "There are some teams that I think could compete with some teams in New York."
But, Puma said, he doesn't think his team is quite there yet.
When Hough High opens in fall, a lot of lacrosse talent will migrate to that school.
North Meck senior goalie Ian Stimson said he's a bit concerned about the Vikings program's future.
"I don't think the lacrosse program is going to last much longer," he said. "The Hough program is going to grow because they're going to get pretty much everyone from this team."