Neil Roberts has shown he can win at nearly any level.
After successful stints as head girls' soccer coach of UNC Charlotte, where he led the 49ers to a Conference USA title and a No. 9 national ranking, from 1995 to 1998, Roberts decided to move back to the high school level for family reasons.
For the past five seasons, all he has done as North Mecklenburg's girls' soccer is win even more.
Roberts has won 74 games at the helm of the Vikings to date, including four straight conference championships and five consecutive playoffs appearances.
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North Meck has been to the third round or better the past three seasons, winning 48 games in that span.
Roberts also coached East Carolina from 1995 to 1998 and was an assistant coach under Anson Dorrance at UNC Chapel Hill during their 1987 national championship run.
He said that there are some disparities between his job at North and UNC Charlotte.
"I think the biggest difference between college and high school soccer, is here, you don't recruit, you have to play the hand your dealt," said Roberts.
"I was really lucky to come to a place like North Meck, where we always have great kids and great talent."
This season has been the best to date as the Vikings are 18-3-2, ranked No. 5 in the state, going into a state quarterfinal meeting with Lake Norman.
North Meck, who won the I-Meck conference in its inaugural year, has been even better in the postseason, allowing only one goal in the playoffs, while beating Providence, Porter Ridge and T.C. Roberson.
"Our first goal was to be the first I-Meck champions, and we didn't look past that," said Roberts.
"We are a win the next game type of team really, but I told our girls that it would be difficult for them to ever be on a more talented high school team. We know that we have everything it takes to do something special."
North Meck is fueled by a suffocating defense that has allowed only 11 goals in 23 games, led by sophomore goalkeeper Emily Rusk, who has 16 shutouts. But Rusk hasn't done it alone as defenders Lindsey Byrne, Erin McNulty, Megan Sullivan and Tara Zartman don't give up even the opportunity to score that often.
"Our back four has been sensational," said Roberts. "I think having that behind you, really gives our whole team and our offense a lot of confidence that we can beat anybody."
While the Vikings' defense has been stout, the offense has also been solid, scoring three goals per game.
North Meck is led by Allison Stearns' 15 goals, while sophomore Morgan Byrne has also been opportunistic. Seniors Katherine Rusk and Emily Archer (slowed by broken nose) are also big contributors.
But no matter if they win or lose the rest of the way, Roberts says North Meck soccer is in great shape.
"I think our team expects to win and expects to be one of the best teams in the state," he said.
We like the challenge of playing the best teams. We look forward to the challenge of trying to win it each season."