2023 North Carolina State Tournament Preview

(Photo Courtesy of Middle Creek Lacrosse)

Across the South, the high school lacrosse regular season is winding down and playoffs are on the horizon or underway.

The North Carolina High School Athletic Association (NCHSAA) 1-3A and 4A state tournaments will get underway on Tuesday, May 2. State champions will be crowned on May 19 and 20 in Durham.

4A State Tournament

Middle Creek (18-1) and Lake Norman (18-3) are the No. 1 seed on each side (east, west) of the bracket in the 4A state tournament.

The Mustangs are the reigning champions from a year ago and enter the postseason having gone unscathed versus NCHSAA competition with their only loss come to NCISAA power Cannon (N.C.) in a 10-6 decision in early April.

Averaging 15 goals per game this season, Middle Creek is led by the duo of senior James Cardillo (Washington & Lee commit) and sophomore Jayce Konowitz. Cardillo leads the Mustangs with 86 points off 56 goals and 28 assists. Konowitz had notched 70 points off 44 goals and 26 assists as the Mustangs’ second-leading scorer. On the other end of the field, Dylan Axman (Lindenwood commit) anchor the Middle Creek defense with 106 saves and a 60% save percentage.

Lake Norman’s three losses came against fellow 4A foe Cardinal Gibbons (N.C.), as well as Centennial (Ga.) and Cannon (N.C.). Before the Wildcats’s loss to Cannon last Thursday, they had won 12 consecutive games with an average margin of victory of 7.5 goals during that stretch. That winning streak included 12-9 victory over Hough (N.C.). It was just the second loss on the year for the Huskies, who are a seven seed on the same side of the bracket. Shall the two meet again it would be in the semifinals.

Ashley (18-1) and Cardinal Gibbons (16-5) are the second and third seed on Middle Creek’s side while Charlotte Catholic (18-2) and R.J. Reynolds (16-3) are the second and third seeds on the Lake Norman side.

4A State Tournament Bracket

1A-3A State Tournament

Lake Norman Charter (13-5) is the top seed in the west while Orange (15-3) is the top seed in the east.

Junior Jack Dalton has tallied 128 points off 52 goals and 79 assists to lead the Knights’ offense this season. Sophomore Tyler Price has netted 48 goals and dished out 35 assists for 83 points on the season. The Knights enter the postseason having gone 7-1 down the stretch with a 10-7 loss to Lake Norman to end the regular season being their only loss since falling 11-10 in OT to Northern Guilford (N.C.) on March 24.

Orange comes into the tournament having won each of its last five games. The Panthers three losses came to Green Level (N.C.) to open the season, Laney (N.C.), and Holly Springs (N.C.) in mid-April. The Panthers are headlined by junior Connor Kruse as he has put up 123 points off 63 goals and 68 assists this season.

Last spring, Lake Norman Charter won the 1A-3A state title while Orange was a semifinalist.

Hickory (11-3) is the No. 2 seed on the west side while Croatan (8-4) is the No. 2 seed on the east side.

1A-3A State Tournament Bracket

Five Players to Watch

Jack Ransom, Attack, Charlotte Catholic (Jr., Georgetown) – 4A

James Cardillo, Attack, Middle Creek, (Sr., Washington & Lee commit) – 4A

Brady Dolan, Attack, Cardinal Gibbons (Jr., Marist) – 4A

Karter Williams, Defense, Hough (Sr., Notre Dame) – 4A

Dylan Axman Goalie, Middle Creek (Jr., Lindenwood) – 4A


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