Hough High’s boys’ soccer team had one goal entering the 2014 season: match what the Huskies girls’ team had done the previous spring.
Hough’s boys nearly pulled it off, coming within a game of playing for a state title in the N.C. High School Athletics Association 4A state playoffs.
The Huskies (22-4-1) had the best run among the 13 Lake Norman-area schools that made it to the state playoffs and had two players named to the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association’s 4A all-state team.
Hough – whose girls’ team won the NCHSAA 4A state title last spring – used an undefeated run through conference play to win the MECKA 4A title and get the No. 4 seed in the state playoffs.
From there, the Huskies began their run, shutting out 29th-seeded Kannapolis Brown 4-0, beating 13th-seeded Southwest Guilford 3-1, and then taking a penalty-kick shootout victory over fifth-seeded Lake Norman.
The biggest win during Hough’s playoff run came in the regional semifinals, where the Huskies upset top-seeded Charlotte Catholic 3-2. But Hough got eliminated in the Western Regional final by No. 2 seed and eventual 4A state champ Winston-Salem Reagan 1-0.
Lake Norman (20-5) also made a long run through the 4A playoffs. Before losing to the Huskies, the Wildcats advanced by edging 28th-seeded North Davidson and taking a penalty-kick shootout from 12th-seeded Porter Ridge.
Mooresville (12-7-3), seeded 20th, was knocked out in the first round by Southwest Guilford 5-2, while 23rd-seeded Hopewell (10-10-1) lost to 10th-seeded Watauga 5-2 in the first round.
In all, five players from the lake-area 4A schools were named to the NCSCA all-state team: Hough freshman forward A.J. Whisenant and senior forward C.J. Bradley; Lake Norman junior midfielder Logan Frey and junior forward Ernad Masic; and Hopewell senior forward Austin Clamon.
The seventh-seeded Knights (18-6) won three straight matches by shutout – beating 26th-seeded Smoky Mountain 4-0, 23rd-seeded Forest Hills 5-0 and No. 2 seed Ashe County 1-0 – to advance to the regional semis. There, Lake Norman Charter was shut out by third-seeded Franklin 2-0.
East Lincoln (15-9), seeded 18th in the 36-team Western bracket, lost to 15th-seeded Surry Central in the first round, while 27th-seeded Bandys (9-11-1) lost to sixth-seeded Trinity 3-1.
Lake Norman Charter senior forward Will Silva was named to the NCSCA’s 2A all-state team.
The No. 2 seed Spartans (14-6-1) made it to the regional semis behind three straight blowout wins: 9-1 over 31st-seeded East Wilkes, 4-0 over 15th-seeded Queen’s Grant, and 5-1 over seventh-seeded Avery County. But Community School of Davidson was upset by No. 6 seed and eventual state finalist East Surry 2-1 in the regional semifinal.
Lincoln Charter (13-8-1) made it to the second round by upsetting 14th-seeded Pine Lake Prep (14-7-1) 1-0 in the first round. But the Eagles lost to third-seeded Highlands 2-1 in the second round.
Three players were named to the NCSCA’s 1A all-state team: Community School of Davidson senior defender Kevin Yascur and senior midfielder Adam Cosgrove, and Pine Lake Prep senior midfielder Michael Andreasen.
Seventh-seeded Cannon School (11-5-5), which has several players from the Lake Norman area, advanced with wins over 10th-seeded Durham Academy 2-0 and second-seeded Cary Academy 2-1. But Cannon was bounced in the semifinals by third-seeded Charlotte Country Day 2-1.
Statesville Christian (11-9), a No. 7 seed that also has players from the area, beat 10th-seeded Community Christian School 3-2 in the first round. It lost to No. 2 seed Kerr-Vance Academy 2-1 in the second round.
Three players were named to the NCISAA all-state teams. Statesville Christian’s Cam Neuwirth and Seth Mason were named to the 1A team, while Cannon School’s Chris Gaskin was named to the 3A team.