The Lake Norman region has long established itself as one of the top areas in the state for high school soccer, with perennial powers like Lake Norman and North Mecklenburg leading the way.While the Wildcats and Vikings had solid seasons in 2012, the balance of power has shifted in new directions, with several Lake Norman-area teams proving they can play with the state’s best.Coming into the 2012 season, Lake Norman Charter boys’ soccer coach Justin Valenti wasn’t shy about saying he had the best team he had ever assembled in the program’s short history.Valenti and the Knights lived up to the hype, winning a school-record 19 games on the way to the 1A state championship game, where they came up just short in a 2-0 loss to Southwest Onslow.Lake Norman Charter (19-4-1) also won its first Southern Piedmont Conference title, going a perfect 12-0 in league play.North Lincoln (14-8, 7-5) also had its best season in school history, winning 14 games and its first ever playoff game.South Iredell (20-2-2) also had a season to remember, advancing all the way to the 2A state quarterfinals.Coach David Basinger and the Vikings went a perfect 14-0 in CVAC play to win the league title.A third-year Hough program continued to establish itself among the top in the state. Despite a slow start, the Huskies finished 13-7-2 (10-2-2 in I-Meck play) to win the league title for the second year in a row. Hough also finished ranked No. 13 in the state’s coaches poll.After missing the playoffs in 2011, North Meck (12-8-4) got back to its winning ways with a strong postseason run, reaching the third round of the 4A playoffs.Lake Norman and Hopewell also reached the playoffs.Lake Norman boys’ soccer player of the year: Michael Basnett, HoughMichael Basnett began the season as a virtually unknown player, having scored five goals and being a part-time varsity player on a talented 2011 Hough team that won 19 games and an I-Meck conference title.But by the end of 2012, Basnett has not only established himself as a leader for his Hough team, but also tallied 24 goals and seven assists on his way to earning all-state, all-region and I-Meck Player of the Year honors.Lake Norman boys’ soccer coach of the year: David Smith, HoughDavid Smith has quickly helped establish a strong soccer program at Hough.So when his Hough boys, who returned only two full-time starters, began the season 1-5-1, they were in a position they hadn’t been before.Instead of giving up, Smith led the Huskies on a turnaround, going 12-2-1 over their final 15 games to claim another I-Meck championship and reach the third round of the state 4A playoffs.With players like Basnett back to lead the team next season, Hough should again be a conference title contender – although this time in its newly-organized 4A conference. All-Lake Norman boy’s soccer teamForwards• Michael Basnett, Hough: All-state, all-region junior was also I-Meck Player of the Year.• Omar Solis, South Iredell: The junior playmaker was all state after scoring area-best 30 goals.• C.J. Bradley, Davidson Day: Sophomore had another good year with 28 goals, nine assists.• Cole Tesar, Hopewell: All-state junior led Titan offense, team to playoffs.• Mitch Brown, North Lincoln: Sophomore led Knights with 12 goals and 13 assists.Midfielders• Sven Wesel, North Mecklenburg: All I-Meck senior, a German exchange student, tallied 14 goals, eight assists• Lawson Owen, Lake Norman Charter: All-state senior playmaker led Knights with 15 goals.• James Jackson, Hough.: The senior, an all-state performer, had 14 goals for his Huskies.• Evan Lucas, Lake Norman Charter: Senior is another multi-talented Knight with 12 goals.Defenders• Taylor Easley, Lake Norman Charter: All-state senior, the SPC Player of the Year, was key part of unit that allowed only 21 goals in 24 games.• Justin Collins, Hough: Senior became Huskies’ defensive stopper to earn all-state honors.• Jeffrey Angelino, Lake Norman: All I-Meck center back anchored Wildcats’ defense.• Clayton Gannaway, North Lincoln: All SPC defender, senior co-captain locked down opponents, also scored three goals.• Kelvin Sarkoh, North Mecklenburg: Multi-talented senior, an All-I-Meck, scored 12 goals from his center back position.Goalkeeper• Christian Hall, Lake Norman Charter: Knights’ junior goalkeeper made 88 saves and forced six shutouts while only allowing 17 goals.