The Lake Norman boys' lacrosse team has shown they are among the best in the state, outscoring their opponents by 10 goals per contest.
The Wildcats have been ranked No. 1 in the state by laxpower.com for most of the season.
This week, all of that success will be put to the test when Lake Norman hosts Lake Norman Charter in what should be the Conference 5 title game Thursday night.
The Wildcats and Knights are currently tied for first place atop the league and were supposed to have already played twice at this point, but both games in March were delayed because of weather.
Lake Norman hopes to achieve the first of many goals they have set for this season.
"We've done a great job of taking things one game at a time," said Lake Norman coach Kevin Gowin, whose team also plays Hough on senior night Friday and then at Mooresville to close the year. "We have definitely talked about the playoffs, but our first goal is to win the conference."
Lake Norman Charter also has an opportunity to be conference champions in only their second year as a program.
The Knights and coach Terry Gobble know this is opportunity to get ahead of even their own plans.
"We are very excited to be in a position to the win the conference, especially against a team like Lake Norman," said Gobble. "We know we are the underdog, but we're looking at it like a business plan. Right now, our plan is going very well."
The Wildcats (11-0, 4-0 in Conference 5) have simply been dominant this season, averaging nearly 15 goals a game. No one expects that to stop soon.
Lake Norman has multiple players who have the potential to carry the scoring load, including Danny Brown, Max Copeland and Will Scott up top. J.T. Del Tufo, Charles Copeland and Brian Kos also have notched double-digit goals on the year.
Gowin says the defense also deserves credit, adding that they have been playing "out of their minds." Long-stick midfielder Kyle Gradert, defenders Patrick Wurtz, Ryan Bremen and Connor Burk as well as goalkeeper Alex Bobyarchick have had a lot to do with that.
The wealth of talent and experience that the Wildcats possess makes it very difficult for opponents to predict where the offense will come from.
Lake Norman is playing for a repeat conference title on its own home field. With that on the line, expect nothing but their best, which will be hard for anyone in the state to beat.
Lake Norman Charter
While the Wildcats are the favorite, the Knights (7-3, 5-0) have the opportunity to steal a conference title on the road.
Gobble and company have the talent to do so, but will have to be near perfect to beat Lake Norman.
Junior goalkeeper John Clark, who has been rock solid all season, is a major key to the game. If he can keep the score close with his ability to make big saves, Lake Norman Charter will have a chance.
On the other side of the ball, junior midfielders Andrew Gobble and Jake Koferl must create offensive opportunities.
Junior attackman Brad McConnell and senior midfielder Grayson Spittel will also be big factors in the Knights' offense.
Gobble said lacrosse, like basketball, is a game of runs. Lake Norman Charter must avoid big Wildcat runs, especially early in the game.
The longer the games stays close, the more the pressure will shift from the Knights to Lake Norman, making anything possible in the end.