Carly Vaccaro has been play lacrosse since she was six years old, when she first decided to try the sport because her older sister, Taylor, played it.
Ever since she can remember, Carly wanted to be better than her older sister.
After watching Taylor (now playing at Savannah College of Art & Design) cap her Lake Norman career in 2014 scoring a school-record 288 goals, Carly Vaccaro had her own season to remember last season.
The 2015 Charlotte Observer player of the year and all-state midfielder scored 91 goals and 41 assists while also collecting 76 ground balls all while leading the Lake Norman girls’ lacrosse team to their first (4A) state championship in school history.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Charlotte Observer
But even after a season for the ages, the younger Vaccaro, a University of Tampa signee, wants more.
"Taylor and I have always practiced together and played together and of course, I wanted to be just as good or better than she was," said Carly Vaccaro, who has 274 career goals and should break Taylor’s record early in the season. "I think always have that motivation to be better has stuck with me. My goal is always to be better than the last game, the last year. Our goal (Lake Norman) is to do that again this season.”
This year’s Lake Norman team is loaded with talent, also including seniors, Julianna Dworschak (West Point commit), juniors Kieran Rinaldi (51 goals last year), Korina Kempthorn (goalkeeper) and Emily Chironna (defender) and sophomore defenders, RosaLee Schiemer (Kennesaw State commit) and Gianna Red Arrow.
Lake Norman’s goal from the start will be the first girls’ team to repeat as state champions and Wildcats’ coach Chris Schiemer says they are motivated as ever.
"Last year, nobody expected us to win (state title), it was going to be Charlotte Catholic or Cardinal Gibbons or someone else," said Schiemer, who has guided the Wildcat girls to 75 wins in five seasons. "We don’t really care what anyone else thinks, but at the same I think playing with something to prove, playing with a little chip on shoulder really drives this team."
While Coach Schiemer admits Vaccaro isn’t the player who is going to be vocal on or off the field, her fire is always burning inside.
"My goal is always to win, and it was amazing feeling to win a state championship," Vaccaro said. "Since this is my last year at Lake Norman, I definitely want to make the most of it and go out on top."
Charlotte Observer Girls Lacrosse to Watch
Riley Harrison, Charlotte Country Day, Midfielder, Sr.: University of North Carolina signee, headlines a trio of Bucs’ All-American’s with teammates, Lucy Pedlow (Cornell signee) and Natalee Palmer (Dartmouth signee) on a team loaded with talent as they go for a fourth straight, NCISAA state title.
Julianna Dworschak, Lake Norman, Midfielder, Sr.: West Point bound midfielder does a little bit of everything for defending 4A state champion, Wildcats, with 44 goals, 35 assists, 59 groundballs last year.
Annalise Heyward, Ardrey Kell, Attack, Sr.: U.S. Naval Academy bound attacker back to lead Knights after an All-American season (35 goals, 24 assists, 55 groundballs) a year ago.
Natalie Italiano, Charlotte Catholic, Attack, Sr.: Two-time all-conference attacker back to lead potent, Catholic offense after netting 52 goals last season.
Landon Shelley, Myers Park, Attack, Jr.: Mustangs’ standout is one of the top playmakers in the state after recording a state record 96 assists as a sophomore.