Two years ago, lacrosse finally got the recognition it deserved when the North Carolina High Athletic Association named it as an official high school sport.
After a half a decade of being a club team, the Lake Norman High boys' lacrosse team has emerged as one of the best squads in the region and the state.
The Wildcats proved it this year, going 15-0 in the regular season, including 7-0 in Conference 10, to win the league title for the second consecutive season, sweeping Lake Norman Charter, Hough, Hopewell and Mooresville in the process.
While Lake Norman coach Kevin Gowin and company were upset in the first round of the playoffs in a 13-12 heartbreaker to Weddington, they still feel good about the season.
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"We're definitely disappointed with the way our season ended," admits Gowin. "But it was still a great season for Lake Norman lacrosse. We have a lot to be proud of and a lot to build on for next year."
Coach Terry Gobble and his Lake Norman Charter team also emerged this year, taking second in the conference and winning a school-record 10 games along the way.
Hough was also solid its first year as a program, finishing 6-10 overall and 4-4 in league play.
Boys' lacrosse player of the year: Will Scott, Lake Norman
Will Scott began the season as a solid player on a Lake Norman team that was supposed to be one of the best lacrosse squads in the state.
Both Scott and his Wildcat team lived up to their billing.
The Lake Norman junior led his team with 45 goals, while adding 17 assists, to prove he was one of the best players in the area.
Scott did a lot of it off the field too, as the 6-foot-1, 200-pound attacker worked tireless in the weight room to get ready for the grind of the season.
"Scott is a big, strong kid who is hard to stop," said Gobble, whose Lake Norman Charter team had to face him twice this year. "I think he improved as much as anyone that I saw play this year."
Gowin agrees with the rival coach, explaining that Scott made big strides in becoming a better player.
"From his field vision to taking control when he has the ball to working hard in the weight room, he got better at everything," said Gowin. "He had a great year for us."
Hough midfielder Mike Hart, who was the Conference 10 Player of the Year after netting 51 goals for the first-year Huskies, also got strong consideration for this honor.
Boys' lacrosse coach of the year: Kevin Gowin, Lake Norman
During the last three seasons, Gowin has taken the Lake Norman lacrosse program from a competitive team to one of the top teams in the state.
This year, the former Syracuse lacrosse player took his team to new heights, occupying the No. 1 or 2 spot in the state rankings for most of the season while going undefeated in the regular season.
Gowin, who is 37-6 in his three seasons with Lake Norman, will look to build upon this year's success to take the next step in 2012 and help his Wildcats contend for a state lacrosse championship.
All-Lake Norman boys' lacrosse team
Will Scott, Lake Norman: Standout junior led his Wildcats in scoring.
Max Copeland, Lake Norman: Consistent junior attacker scored 43 goals and netted 20 assists.
Danny Brown, Lake Norman: After leading team last year, junior had another standout season with 40 goals, 22 assists.
Brad McDonell, Lake Norman Charter: Junior led Knights up top with 38 goals.
Mike Hart, Hough: Conference 10 Player of the Year had 51 goals for young Huskies.
Jake Koferl, Lake Norman Charter: Junior led the Knights with 44 goals from midfield.
Andrew Gobble, Lake Norman Charter: Junior led team with 25 assists.
Brendan McWilliams, Cannon: Cougars' leading scorer was explosive at times as a senior.
Charles Copeland, Lake Norman: Senior had 22 goals to go along with 27 assists for Wildcats.
Kyle Gradert, Lake Norman: Sophomore already a defensive star for Wildcats, leading the team in takeaways.
Ramsey Haddad, Mooresville: All-conference sophomore hopes to help 1-15 Blue Devils improve next season.
Patrick Wurtz, Lake Norman: Senior leader is an "All-American" quality defending, according to several local coaches.
Connor Burk, Lake Norman: Defensive stopper uses same toughness in both the football and lacrosse fields.
Ryan Bremmen, Lake Norman: Junior's another part of a defense that gave up less than five goals per game.
Alex Bobyarchick, Lake Norman: Senior was a major reason Wildcats were 15-1, with 86 saves and allowing only 47 goals.
John Clark, Lake Norman Charter: Junior had an area-best 168 saves this year for the Knights.