In a see-saw contest, it was Lake Norman that snatched a late lead on four goals in the final four minutes, blitzing past the defending champions, Middle Creek, 13-11 to win the school’s second Men’s Lacrosse State Championships. Drew Elder was dominant in the faceoff circle, winning 19 of 25 faceoffs, scooping up 17 ground balls and scoring three goals on the afternoon on his way to being named Most Valuable Player in the game.
Elder stunned the Mustangs off the opening faceoff, scooping it up and dashing straight into the box where he ripped a shot into the netting just five seconds into the game to put the Wildcats up 1-0. His brother, Matthew Elder, got in on the act with a beautiful overhand finish off a pass from Brandon Garcia with 9:37 remaining in the first quarter that put the Wildcats up 2-0.
The defending champion Mustangs got off the mat, as they scored the next four goals. J.J. Tolentino ripped the first two scores off of feeds from Jake Caputo to tie the game with 5:24 to go in the first. Benjamin Lever’s unassisted goal gave the Mustangs a 3-2 lead before Caputo scored his only goal at 3:33 to go in the first. He added five assists in the game, helping Middle Creek stretch the lead to two goals on three different occasions.
In the fourth quarter, Jimmy Slaight scored his third goal of the game for Middle Creek to give the Mustangs a 10-9 lead with 10:34 to go. It took until the 3:38 mark in the game for Lake Norman to draw even when Blake Lecky threaded the needle for his second goal of the game, tying it at 10. Less than a minute later, Matthew Elder hit Mitchell Cody for Cody’s fourth goal of the game which gave Lake Norman their first lead since the 8:10 mark of the third quarter.
Just 48 seconds after taking the lead, Cody slipped a quick pass to Drew Elder who capped off his day scoring by giving the Wildcats a 12-10 lead with 2:10 to play. Drew Elder won another faceoff on the ensuing draw, that’s when the Wildcats burned another minute off the clock before Matthew Elder got his second goal of the game with 1:10 to play making it 13-10.
Middle Creek finished the season 21-1, a perfect 12-0 in conference play and made the school’s second appearance in an NCHSAA State Championship Game. Lake Norman concluded the year, 22-2, a perfect 7-0 in league play, made the school’s fourth appearance in an NCHSAA State Championship Game and won the school’s second Men’s Lacrosse title. Their first title came in 2012.
Press released provided by the NCHSAA