CARY, NC – Lake Norman Charter fell behind early 3-1 but the Knights found their footing in the second quarter, racing away to a 19-5 victory over First Flight and winning the program’s first State Championship.
First Flight opened the game on the offensive, pouring the pressure on Lake Norman Charter in the opening frame and opening up a two-goal lead thanks to goals from Jacob Gray and Nick Gardill. The Nighthawks outshot the Knights 10-8 in the first period and kept things pretty even in the second period with Lake Norman Charter outshooting First Flight just 9-8. The second half was a completely different affair with the Knights pouring on 23 shots while giving up just nine by First Flight.
The Knights couldn’t find possession during the opening frame until breaking down into the Nighthawk end as Jack Dalton found Tyler Price to get Lake Norman Charter on the board with 3:27 to go in the first quarter. The goal was the first of Price’s six goals on the night, he added three assists and dug up five ground balls on his way to being selected the game’s Most Valuable Player.
The Nighthawks responded with solid defensive effort in the latter stages of the first quarter and opened the second quarter with a 2-1 lead. They rumbled into the attacking third and worked it to Gardill who dodged several Knight defenders to rip one into net and put First Flight back in front by two with 10:03 to go in the half, one of his four goals on the night. It was the last bright spot for the Nighthawks for a while since the Knights rolled off the next five goals in the game to open up a 6-3 lead.
Jack Dalton scored the goal to put Lake Norman Charter ahead for good, tickling the net with 3:24 to go in the half to give the Knights a 4-3 advantage. Dalton finished the night with three goals and six assists. Price added the next two goals, both to start the third period, before Gardill briefly stopped the bleeding for the Nighthawks at the 9:18 mark of the third.
First Flight finished the season 12-4 on the year. The Nighthawks won the program’s first Eastern Regional Title, appearing in the State Championship Game for the first time in program history. This was only the second year in program history that the Nighthawks advanced past the first round of the NCHSAA playoffs.
Lake Norman Charter wrapped up the season at 19-3. The Knights reached the Regional Finals for the first time in program history, winning the school’s first Regional Championship and State Championship in Men’s Lacrosse.