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Calvin senior protects campus and net
By Bruce VanBaren

Darrin ClineDarrin Cline has been keeping Calvin’s campus safe for over three years as a campus safety officer. For the past two years Cline’s niche has been protecting Calvin’s net as the starting goalkeeper for the men’s soccer team.

A two-year varsity starter, Cline led Calvin to consecutive MIAA championships and consecutive NCAA tournament berths. During his two-year stint, Calvin’s defense led the MIAA allowing only nine goals in 2007 and eight this season.

As a junior Cline was named to the all-MIAA second team; he garnered all-MIAA first team honors this year. He recorded nine shut outs each of his two seasons and recorded a career record of 28-10-3.

“Darrin is probably the most athletic player we’ve had on the team in the past two years,” Coach Chris Hughes said. “Over the last few years he has really developed into a very good shot stopper and has been instrumental in our two MIAA championships. If we didn’t have him in goal, I’m not sure we would have had the same success.”

A native of Grandville, Mich., and graduate of Grandville High School, Cline started his sophomore season on the junior varsity team stacked behind three varsity keepers. But with the Knights struggling to a 3-5-2 record and only one conference win, Hughes shook up the roster and pulled up Cline to serve as the back-up goalie.

As a junior, Cline was planning on the back-up role once again. That changed in the second game of the season when Calvin’s starting goalie, Dave Fortosis was injured.

“I was just worried about Fortosis,” Cline said. “It didn’t hit me that I’m going into the game. It was right before halftime and we were all running around not sure what was going on. Coach said, ‘Cline go get ready.’ I was like ‘What? Oh yeah, I have to go in.’”

Cline preserved the tie, but the Knights dropped four of Cline’s first five games as starting goalkeeper, including their conference opener at Kalamazoo.

“I saw it as an opportunity,” said Cline. “You never wish ill on anyone, especially as genuine of a guy as Dave is. But I had to step it up so we weren’t down in the league. There was a lot of pressure to perform.”

Cline responded by posting four straight shutouts,  and led Calvin to a 12-game undefeated streak in the MIAA.

“Game after game Darrin was just getting better,” said Hughes. “By the time Dave was healthy, Darrin was performing at max capacity… flat out he was just on fire.”

Cline credited much of his success to a defensive line that had three all-MIAA selections on it, including this year’s MIAA Most Valuable Player junior Greg Snapper, a two-time all-MIAA first team selection.

Although Calvin won two consecutive league titles, the Knights were bounced in the first round of the NCAA tournament the last two seasons. Cline says the 1-0 loss a year ago to John Carroll and the 3-0 loss to Carnegie Mellon, both coming at Ohio Wesleyan University, will stick with him.

“That’s not an easy thing to get over,” Cline said. “I’m not a fan of that half of the field at Ohio Wesleyan. I gave up four goals in two halves (on that side of the field). It’s definitely frustrating.”

Cline, a sociology major and a social work and psychology minor, is currently interviewing for a position with the Madison Police Academy in Wisconsin, Snapper’s hometown.

“It’s my dream job, it’s what I want to do,” Cline said.

Cline will be getting married this summer to Katie Lynn Greenland, a Hope graduate and former cross country runner for the Flying Dutch.

“Katie is definitely a Calvin supporter,” he said. “And she’s heard an earful of flack for it.”