Entering this season, there were many reasons to believe the Charlotte Latin boys lacrosse team wouldn’t be able to duplicate its remarkable 2012 campaign.
With 13 talented seniors, the Hawks cruised through 2012 without losing to an in-state opponent, racking up a 17-2 record and winning the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association championship.
But filling the void left by the graduated seniors would be tough.
“There was a talent drop-off,” said Hawks’ attacker Carson Song. “Losing their leadership was really important to us, but I think it also gave us a drive for the season.
“Everyone was saying, ‘Latin was really good last year’, but since we lost all of those guys, I think people thought we wouldn’t be good. But we knew that, even though we were young, we definitely had the talent and the potential to do well.”
The Hawks also had Song, an unassuming and respectful sophomore off the field who proved to be equally as fierce and talented on it.
Song scored 42 goals on the season, but his unselfish play and all-around skill also resulted in 60 assists, bolstering his All-Charlotte Independent Schools Athletic Association and All-NCISAA resume. Now, he’s the 2013 Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s Sothern Mecklenburg Boys Lacrosse Player of the Year.
Song said he doesn’t get caught up in individual achievements, preferring instead to bestow any credit he receives onto his teammates.
“I’ve always looked to share the ball,” Song said. “But the guys around me had to step up and finish. Getting the ball to them is one thing, but (them) finding the net is another.”
The Hawks flourished with Song as their offensive facilitator, going 15-4. They earned a return trip to the NCISAA title game, this time against rival Providence Day, the only North Carolina-based team to defeat the Hawks the past two seasons with a 15-8 win on April 26.
Undeterred, Latin jumped out to an early lead in the title game and led 8-5 entering the final quarter. But the Chargers reeled off three consecutive goals to tie the score with just over a minute remaining, leaving the state championship hanging perilously in the balance.
After winning the ensuing faceoff, the Hawks found themselves with the ball and a chance.
“When we got the ball, all of us were like, ‘OK, don’t let this slip away from us,’” Song said. “We knew someone had to make a play, and that’s what I tried to do.”
After driving up the sideline, Song fired the eventual title-winning score with 36 seconds to go.
“I got a little space and just shot it and, fortunately, it went in,” Song said. “I just tried to make a play when I was called on.”
Song continued with his typical team-first demeanor.
“I’m glad it went in,” he said with a smile. “But I don’t think that one play won the game. Everyone chipped in and deserves credit for our success.”