A lot of hair, and flair for the dramatic

It's easy to pick out Carin Arline (12) from her soccer teammates. The striker likes it that way.
It's easy to pick out Carin Arline (12) from her soccer teammates. The striker likes it that way.
Posted: November 08, 2013

The hair was not supposed to make a statement - at first, anyway.

"It started basically because I didn't like doing my hair in the morning," Carin Arline said with a laugh, describing her somewhat retro Afro hairdo that is two-tone and spans about two feet in length and width.

It has become something of a trademark.

"People will yell, 'Get the girl with the hair,' " said Arline, a senior striker for the Burlington Township girls' soccer team who also has added neon cleats to her game-day wardrobe.

"So I started to like the idea that opponents know who I am, that they know I'm coming, but that they still can't mark me or contain me."

Her look grabs attention. Her skills keep it. But her clutch play, particularly of late, is what really leaves an impression on opponents.

With a little more than six minutes left in regulation, Arline netted the goal that pushed 16th-seeded Burlington Township to a 1-0 upset at No. 1 Ocean City in the opening round of the South Jersey Group 3 tournament on Monday.

It was a defining moment in her career. It was the biggest moment in her team's recent history.

But don't ask Arline to recount it. All she remembers is that when the play was over, her nose was bleeding and her team had a one-goal lead.

"I know I had the ball on my foot and I was heading to the goal," she said. "All of a sudden, there was a big traffic jam. Somehow, I got hit in the face. I don't know if I hit the ball with my face or not - it could have been anything. All I do know is that when it was over, the ball went in the back of the net."

Seven of Arline's team-leading 13 goals are game-winners, including one with eight seconds left in regulation earlier this season against Cinnaminson.

There's a certain abandon with which many great finishers play. And Arline, unique look aside, is making a name for herself for her determination in the game's crucial moments.

"I just feel the clock running out," she said. "I will literally try my absolute hardest for something, anything that might give me the chance to put the ball in the back of the net."

The Falcons (9-9-1) advanced to a second-round matchup scheduled for Thursday at No. 8 Pinelands. Burlington Township again will be the underdog, but perhaps only on paper. The team enters the game as a well-balanced side, led by an emerging star in Arline.

"She's a very fast player, she's very quick, she has great spatial awareness, and she's composed and confident. She's a leader on our team," Burlington Township coach Kim Lamanteer said.

"And a lot of her success is due to the way the team is playing as a whole. There's been great support around her, and our chemistry has just continued to get better."

Arline, who plans to play in college but is undecided on where, also largely credits her teammates for much of her recent success. The Falcons' depth this season allowed Arline to move from center midfielder to striker, her natural position.

As the team's chemistry grew, results turned in the Falcons' favor. Burlington Township has won six of its last seven games.

Just as Arline described the palpable feeling of time running out in a game, she has described a similar feeling and a similar approach in regard to the final stretch of her high school career.

"I absolutely do not want it to end," she said. Monday's win, she added, "was amazing. The whole team was on Cloud 9. Everything that we worked for this season came together in that win.

"But at the same time, we know we're still the underdogs. We still have to work hard. We want to keep this going."


rallysports@phillynews.com

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