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Wildcats hit wall in first-round soccer playoff defeat
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Wildcats hit wall in first-round soccer playoff defeat

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Bid denied.

An attempt on the part of Lake Norman’s girls soccer team to upset the cart in the course of play in the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s 4A class postseason play failed to hit the intended mark.

The Wildcats, runners-up in their I-Meck Conference and as result recipients of the No. 10 seed in their 16-member NCHSAA West Region bracket, were held without a goal for just the second time all season. The Wildcats were dealt a 3-0 defeat by South Mecklenburg during Monday night’s soaking-wet opening round of the state playoffs.

With the setback also serving to draw Lake Norman’s season-best winning streak to a close, it finished with a 12-3 overall record. All three of the Wildcats’ losses were rendered at the feet of teams making it at least as deep as into the second-round of state postseason play.

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Managing to engage in the scheduled affair despite morning long rain, often heavy at times, that lingered into the early afternoon hours as well, the Wildcats suffered the loss to close the five-match winning spree they took with them into the second-season debut.

Matched up opposite No. 7 seeded South Mecklenburg entry undefeated for the season overall and champions of its South Meck Conference, Lake Norman found the footing as difficult to find as it has all season. Only once before prior to Monday’s postseason play had the Wildcats failed to find the opposing team’s goal at least once.

In return, the Wildcats allowed a pair of goals to be netted during the course of first-half play and coughed up the remaining marker during the second half to account for the final margin. It was the first time in their last six matches that the Wildcats gave up goals to the opposition. The total number of strikes allowed also accounted for the second-most surrendered during a single match all season.

The ouster was delivered by a 12-0-1 South Meck entry boasting of a current No. 6 ranking in the most recently-released N.C. 4A class girls soccer poll that also wound up being the last one to be announced during the course of regular-season play.

The first-round loss also served to make the Wildcats the latest of Lake Norman’s sports programs to bring participation in the I-Meck ranks to a close as well. Effective with the beginning of the 2021-22 state school sports year’s schedule, Lake Norman will be a member of an as-yet-unnamed new league line-up that features only one current entry crosstown rival Mooresville as a fellow resident as well.

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