Lake Norman Charter’s volleyball team has dominated its first season in the Southern Piedmont 1A/2A conference. Then again, the Knights have dominated everyone this season.
They’re 19-0 in matches and have won 57 of 62 games.
No opponent has stretched them to a five-game set, meaning all the wins have been by 3-0 and 3-1 scores.
Lake Norman Charter clinched the conference championship with a 25-17, 25-23, 25-22 victory against North Lincoln on Oct. 11. The Knights will wrap up the regular season in a home match against Bessemer City on Thursday, Oct. 13. The conference tournament begins Monday, Oct. 17, and then it’s on to the state playoffs.
Lake Norman Charter’s success is a combination of talent, depth and experience. The 12-player roster includes six seniors, but the key ingredient is cohesion.
“We’re working a lot better together,” said Katie Sevin, the team’s senior setter. “Last year, sometimes we didn’t work together that well. Now, we’re more of a team.”
The Knights’ depth is easy to see. For example, sophomore Julie Newell leads in kills with 70, but Katie Fabian has 62, Emily Hunt 54, Korrine Belfield 50 and Julia Delvalle 47.
Newell has 34 service aces, followed closely by Belfield (24), Fabian (22) and Sevin (18).
Ditto with digs, as Fabian has 137, Sevin 113 and Delvalle 102.
That’s a lot of different names in various categories. And coach Jeff Moran doesn’t hesitate to rotate his entire roster into games.
“Our depth is something that is serving us well,” Moran said. “It’s the reason why we’re at where we’re at right now. We go 12 girls deep. I have a lot of confidence in all 12 girls.
“They all play well together. When you have a team like that, we can be dangerous because we can throw a couple different looks at you and get production from one end of the bench to the other.
It’s really been a key to our success this year.”
Lake Norman Charter was 14-5 last season. Three of the losses were to Covenant Classical, and one was to Charlotte Country Day.
This season, the Knights scored 3-1 victories against both.
“When we beat Covenant (in the second game of the season), I knew we could be pretty good,” said Sevin, who leads the team with 229 assists.
Said Moran, in his first season as coach: “We’re not a tall team, but we’re really quick. We play great defense and pass the ball very well.
“We’re a scrappy team, because we don’t have the height. We have some good hitters, definitely, for our size. But really, our strength is our defense and how well we move on the back row.”
The senior leadership comes from Kinsey Porter, Jamie Williams, Morgan Harris, Fabian, Sevin and Hunt.
Lake Norman Charter hasn’t felt too much weight from expectations around its unbeaten record. At a recent practice, the Knights concluded with a drill involving two balls being played simultaneously. It looked exhausting and chaotic, but the players were laughing and hustling throughout.
“We try to keep it light,” Moran said. “We rarely mention our record to ourselves, but it is what it is. The awareness about us is out there now. It’s something to think about. We feel the pressure certainly, but we’re very loose and confident. I think that’s a testament to our senior leadership.
“We know we’re going to take each team’s best shot every time we step on the court. It’s our challenge to rise to the occasion and just keep on winning.”