In her three previous seasons, Charlotte Catholic senior soccer player Jane Cline’s penchant for goal scoring had already left a lasting impact on the Cougars’ record books. Last season as a junior, Cline topped the 40-goal barrier, an eye-popping achievement in its own right.
Thanks to a historic senior season, however, Cline further propelled herself as one of the state’s – and the nation’s – most prolific goal scorers.
During her senior season, Cline found the back of the net a mind-boggling 75 times. That total, according to Maxpreps.com, led the nation and also is the second-highest season-long scoring output in the annals of the N.C. High School Athletic Association’s record books.
“I’m surprised that I was able to score that many goals,” Cline said. “I wasn’t expecting it. I wasn’t expecting to break any records or anything. It’s all kind of shocking to me.”
Cline’s remarkable senior campaign was just what the Cougars needed this season as the esteemed Catholic soccer program – which has won three state titles – had just three seniors on its roster. Instead of rebuilding, the Cougars went 20-3-3 and advanced to the Class 3A Western Regional finals.
“Going in I knew it was going to be difficult,” said Cline, “but we came together as a team five or six games in and we had a good year, made a good run in the playoffs and we came so close but just couldn’t make it.”
Cline’s prolific season also gave her 185 career goals which, also according to the NCHSAA, is the seventh-most in state history. But Cline wasn’t all about piling up scores as she added 17 assists, vaulting the Cougars to the Class 3A Western Regional finals for the third consecutive season.
For her efforts, Cline was named the ME-GA 7 3A/4A conference Player of the Year, earned an N.C. Coaches Association All-State selection, was chosen for the N.C. team in the Clash of the Carolinas all-star game and was selected for the East/West All-Star Game. And, of course, she was named Carolina Weekly Newspaper Group’s 2013 Southern Mecklenburg Girls Soccer Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.
When she arrived at Charlotte Catholic as a ninth-grader, Cline already was a star in the making after shining as a defender for her club team. Catholic coach Gary Hoilett sensed a versatility in Cline, however, and asked if she’d like to try playing on the offensive side of the ball.
The rest is, quite literally, history.
“It’s all pretty remarkable,” Cline said. “I tried (playing) forward my freshman year and everything changed. Every year I’ve learned a lot more about the position, and I’m kind of shocked how it’s gone.”
After switching to offense, Cline immediately became one of the Cougars’ top scoring threats and put together a career from her center-forward position that won’t soon be forgotten at Charlotte Catholic.
In her four seasons, Cline helped lead Catholic to an 88-8-10 overall record. That run includes an impressive stretch of clutch performances in some of the program’s biggest games. In last season’s Western Regional final appearance, a 2-1 loss to Jacksonville White Oak, Cline scored Catholic’s only goal. During the Class 3A championship in 2011, the then-sophomore was named the game’s Most Valuable Player after scoring both of the Cougars’ goals in a 2-1 win over Raleigh Cardinal Gibbons.
Although the Cougars ended this season with a loss, Cline said she’s equally proud of her individual accomplishments and her program’s success during her four seasons.
“When I look back on my career, winning the state championship and being named Most Valuable Player was the highlight,” Cline said. “But I’m really happy with how well we did this season, too.”
While her senior season fell short of a perfect ending, the legend of Jane Cline will continue to have its place among the lore of state soccer, even long after she suits up for Appalachian State, where she’s signed to play next season.
Cline said she narrowed her college choice to two schools – the Charlotte 49ers and the Mountaineers – but ultimately decided to play in Boone.
While it’s exciting to look forward to her college career, Cline said she won’t soon forget her uber-successful time at Charlotte Catholic. And just as Cline did four seasons ago, she’s hoping to use her high school career as a springboard to see just how good she can be on the next level.
“I’m surprised at how well I did,” Cline said. “I’ve gotten so many compliments on it. I’m really proud of myself and what I’ve been able to (accomplish). My success pushes me to work harder for next year and to try to be the very best that I can.”