The Lake Norman region has become one of the better areas in the state for volleyball.
While it is still a virtual newcomer, in only its second year, Hough High proved to be one of the best high school teams in the area, as coach Sandi Skidmore and her team went 28-4 overall.
Lake Norman, which battled the Huskies closely for the I-Meck title all year, was also strong under first-year head coach Joanna Ramsey, going 22-6 and making it to the third round of the 4A playoffs.
After a tough 2010 season, North Mecklenburg rebounded nicely with 19 wins, including a first-round playoff victory. Mooresville and Hopewell also made the postseason but were eliminated in the first round.
SouthLake Christian and coach Rachel Noreika were also very impressive this season, winning their first 27 games before falling to eight-time, 3A private school state champion Charlotte Latin in the 3A state finals.
Lake Norman Charter was nearly as good, also going unbeaten until the playoffs, at 26-0, before falling to Hendersonville. Davidson Day also made the postseason, going 13-4 overall, losing in the first round of the NCISAA 2A playoffs.
Lake Norman Player of the Year: Katie Schoenrock, SouthLake Christian
During the past two seasons, Katie Schoenrock, a SouthLake Christian senior, led her Eagles' team to new heights as they went 52-6, winning the 2010 2A N.C. Independent School Athletic Association state title and nearly doing it again in 2011 at the 3A level before finishing as the state runners-up to Charlotte Latin.
Schoenrock, a two-time all-state selection, was in the middle of all of it again, with 400 kills and 89 aces to lead her team to a 27-1 record.
The 5-foot-10 senior will now use her club volleyball season with the Carolina Junior Volleyball squad to determine if she will play collegiately.
Lake Norman News Coach of the Year: Sandi Skidmore, Hough
Sandi Skidmore and the Huskies carried the momentum of their surprising inaugural year into the 2011 campaign, in which they not only won a school-record 28 games but also claimed the I-Meck conference title and made it to the state quarterfinals, where they fell to Watauga.
Skidmore, who led her former North Meck team to nine conference titles in 11 years, should have Hough back near the top of the league and the state next year with several key players back, including sophomore middle hitter Julia Brown.
All-Lake Norman volleyball team
Katie Schoenrock, SouthLake Christian: Two-time all-state outside hitter had more than 400 kills this season.
Kayla Summer, SouthLake Christian: Senior teamed with Schoenrock to take Eagles back to the brink of another state title.
Jensen Schott, Lake Norman: I-Meck Player of the Year was one of the best defensive players in the area.
Madison Poovey, Lake Norman: Senior hitter helped fuel Wildcats to another 20-plus-win season, deep playoff run.
Briana Gottberg, Lake Norman: Setter and team leader is headed to Lenoir-Rhyne after having a strong senior year.
Alexis Bednarick, Lake Norman: Only 5-foot-5, junior outside hitter made big impact for Wildcats.
Nikki Hero, Hough: Senior setter directed potent Huskies' offense with 786 assists.
Kat Kennedy, Hough: Senior helped transform Huskies into state power in year two with all-around strong play.
Julia Brown, Hough: Sophomore was impressive with 70 blocks but will need to be even better next year.
Kailyn Overcash, Hough: Senior led a talented, balanced offensive team in kills, aces.
Madie Greer, North Mecklenburg: Senior outside hitter had monster year with 328 kills, 64 aces, 200 digs to lead the Vikings back to winning ways.
Katie Fabian, Lake Norman Charter: Senior co-captain led Knights to a school-best 26-1 record.
Jessi Harris, Davidson Day: Patriots' leader named to private school 2A all-state team.