The Lake Norman area has made a name for itself in volleyball, as Hopewell, Lake Norman, North Mecklenburg and SouthLake Christian have established their teams as perennial title contenders.
SouthLake won a state championship this year, while Lake Norman had its best season in school history with 29 wins, an I-Meck tournament title and a berth in the state semifinals. Hopewell was also strong, going 27-4.
First-year Hough High (12-10), under former North Meck coach Sandi Skidmore, was solid, reaching the third round of the 4A playoffs after upsetting the Titans in the second round.
Lake Norman News Coach of the Year: Rachel Noreika, SouthLake Christian
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SouthLake had been close before, but this year, Rachel Noreika's Eagles volleyball team came through, beating Asheville Christian 3-1 to win the school's first NCISAA state title.
Noreika, whose team has been to the state semifinals the last three seasons, guided her team to a 25-5 record, including a 12-1 Metrolina Athletic Conference (MAC) record.
The Eagles and Noreika made their run as the No. 3 seed in the NCISAA 2A playoffs, knocking off No. 2 Cary Christian and No. 1 Asheville Christian along the way.
Lake Norman News Player of the Year: Hannah Early, Hopewell
Hannah Early is a talented athlete. The 6-foot-1 Hopewell senior is not only the I-Meck Volleyball Player of the Year, but could also do the same in basketball this season after being All-I-Meck as a junior on the hardwood.
But Early, who has committed to Davidson for basketball, also dominates on the volleyball court, registering 310 kills and 88 blocks this season to lead a talented Titans team that finished the season 27-4.
All Lake Norman News Volleyball Team
Hannah Early , Hopewell: I-Meck Player of the Year was dominant around the net.
Rachel Eppley, Hopewell: The sophomore is a current and future star for the Titans.
Adrian Eppley, Hopewell: The senior, and Rachel's sister, is one of best setters in the area.
Morgan Tucker, Lake Norman: Leader of a Wildcat team that came up just short of a state title.
Molly Cotten, Lake Norman: Outside hitter was a major player on a talented 29-3 squad.
Lauren Steiner, Lake Norman: Senior led the standout Wildcats in kills.
Katherine Kennedy, Hough: Junior will be a major factor for Huskies again next year.
Cameron Van Noy, North Mecklenburg: 6-foot-2 senior was a major force at the net for the Vikings.
Katie Shoenrock, SouthLake Christian: All-state performer led team in kills, aces as junior.
Kayla Summer, SouthLake Christian: All-state junior gives Eagles major 1-2 punch with Shoenrock.
Meghan Bentley, Southlake Christian: Senior setter goes out on top.