Glenelg's Cline gets jump on rivals

October 20, 1994|By Rick Belz | Rick Belz,Sun Staff Writer

No one is more surprised than Glenelg midfielder Jeff Cline that he is Howard County's leading scorer in boys soccer with 10 goals and three assists.

With potent scorers like Centennial's Brian West and Matt Stephenson as competition, Cline figured there would be no chance.

Besides, he thought his greatest talent lay in ball possession, field vision and passing -- the same skills he exhibits as the starting point guard for the basketball team.

"I'm surprised, because at the beginning of the season I thought I had problems finishing," Cline said.

He can't really explain why he has scored a goal in every Glenelg game but two (he had an assist in one of those two) and had a hat trick against Walter Johnson.

Part of the reason is his skill in the air. Glenelg targets him on set plays -- corner kicks and long throw-ins -- and he has headed in four goals off those plays. He's 6-foot-1 and can out-jump most opponents.

"I was told he was dangerous on those plays, so we put one man right on his back and another man in front of him," Oakland Mills coach Don Shea said. The Scorpions have been the only team to shut out Glenelg.

Oakland Mills midfielder Keith Murphy was impressed with Cline, despite Cline's failure to score Tuesday in the 3-0 loss. "He's a force," Murphy said.

Cline has played varsity for three seasons, scoring three goals as a sophomore when Glenelg won a state Class 2A co-championship. His older brother, Scott, was an outstanding player and scorer on that team.

Cline scored eight goals and had three assists last season when the Gladiators lost to Fallston, 4-0, in the state semifinals. Cline made first-team All-County.

He said his biggest thrills have been winning the state championship and beating Oakland Mills three times. His most memorable game was his first varsity game as a sophomore.

"I scored two goals and we beat Howard in overtime," Cline said.

Cline said he learned a lot about soccer in his sophomore year just by playing with outstanding former teammates such as Dan Gaertner, Keever Frye and Russell Payne.

He thinks one of the toughest players he has competed against was Centennial's Doug Ulman when they were both sophomores. "I had to mark him," Cline said.

Cline moved to Howard County from Atlanta when he was in the seventh grade.

"I grew up playing rec ball and played on a pretty good club team in Atlanta," he said. "Since I've lived here I haven't played club that much."

He played on a Centennial neighborhood team with Shane Ardo, Scott Baughman and Steve Otten. And he played for the Western Howard Wings.

"But I've concentrated more on basketball," he said. He's been equally successful at that sport. He broke the school record for steals last season.

Glenelg coach John Bouman thinks some of Cline's outstanding qualities might stem partially from basketball.

"He's always first to the ball. He's a tremendous fighter who creates his own space in tight situations. He takes on two or three players and gets fouled," Bouman said.

"He's good with his feet, has good ball-handling skills. He can pull the ball back and from side to side. He's aggressive on set plays -- good in the air. And he doesn't let pressure get to him."

Cline, a senior captain, also plays tennis. He's a National Honor Society member and maintains a 3.93 grade-point average.

He hopes to attend Penn State, James Madison or North Carolina, but doesn't think he'll be good enough to play varsity

soccer or basketball at that level.

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