by C. Jemal Horton

Jane Cline finished the season with 41 goals and 16 assists for Charlotte Catholic. Photo courtesy of Jeff Cline

Throughout his uber-successful tenure as ­Charlotte Catholic’s soccer coach, Gary Hoilett always has had high expectations for his top players, and most of those things are in the broader sense of the sport: things such as having a keener understanding of the game and improving one’s ability to lift teammates.

“But I never go into the season expecting someone to score 40 goals,” said Hoilett, who’s led Catholic to a combined six state titles – three girls and three boys.

“There’s just no way you can expect 40 goals. That doesn’t happen that often.”

And that speaks volumes about the season Jane Cline had.

The junior forward booted in 41 goals to go with 16 assists, and she led the Cougars to the Class 3A state championship game, en route to becoming Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2012 Southern Mecklenburg Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

It was a season of accolades for Cline, who also was the ME-GA 7 3A/4A conference Player of the Year, an all-state choice by the N.C. Soccer Coaches Association and an All-South honoree.

She said it would’ve been the perfect season if the Cougars had been able to win their second consecutive state title, although she certainly knows she accomplished something special – even if it wasn’t planned.

“I was pretty amazed by it all,” Cline said. “After last year, I had pretty high expectations of winning the state championship again. That’s all I really wanted. I wasn’t planning on scoring that many goals; it just started happening. After a while, (my teammates) kept saying, ‘We need you to score.’ And I had never scored that many goals in my life. I was just at the right places at the right times.”

Hoilett believes Cline deserves a lot more credit than that. And it starts, he said, with her mental approach to the game entering the 2012 season.

“She just had a greater understanding of the game – not just the position she plays but the whole game and how she impacts it,” Hoilett said. “She matured as a person, and that was so huge. She was able to handle the ups and downs a lot better, and she helped her teammates in so many ways because of that.

“She’s so driven. When she steps onto the field, she’s always ready to go. You never have to try to flip that switch for her, because she’s already there. And when she’s got the ball, I think she’s the most dangerous ­finisher in Charlotte. She can take control of a game and get things done for you.”

Those talents led to a number of college programs pursuing Cline, and she ultimately committed to play for Appalachian State. After scoring so much this season, she knows opponents will be gunning for her next spring. But after exceeding Hoilett’s lofty standards this year, she’s even more driven to succeed in the future.

“I’d love to top the goals and assists (next season),” she said. “But I really just want to try to help my team win a state championship.

“The goals would just be a bonus.”

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