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A keeper’s goal
By Annalise Venhuizen
Linda Heilman
Linda Heilman (Byron Center, Mich.)

It’s all about nets for Calvin junior . In one sport she concentrates on putting the ball in the net; in the other, she focuses on keeping it out.

For the last two years, the “putting in” has been familiar to Heilman, who is a member of the women’s basketball team. But this fall, she strived to make a name for herself somewhere else—as the goalkeeper for the women’s soccer team.

The last time the Byron Center native played competitive soccer was during the 2001 season—her senior year at South Christian High School. She decided to focus on basketball at Calvin, but she still watched soccer. “Last year I watched a lot of the games. That made me miss it,” Heilman said. So she decided, with much encouragement from the girls on the team, to come out for soccer this season.

“On the first days of tryouts, I was so nervous, and I started second-guessing myself,” Heilman said. But it all fell into place soon. The goalkeeper mentality came back to her quickly, and with the help of assistant coach Casey TerHaar ’61, an All-American keeper for the 1961 Calvin men’s soccer team, her form and technique both improved. “We had very intense workouts, and during our halftime talks he encouraged me on the things I do well and told me where to improve. He sees the goalie position very well,” said Heilman.

Head coach Mark Recker also attributed her fast transition to her work ethic: “From day one Linda worked extremely hard at regaining her skills. She was more and more active in the box and better in her judgment on long, high and floated balls. She steps back on high balls and explodes on the short balls.”

Heilman finished the year with a 1.27 goals against average, seven shutout victories and 72 saves. Her efforts helped Calvin finish 14-5-1 overall and place second in the MIAA with a 13-2-1 conference mark, one point behind league champion Hope.

This winter will mark the first time that Heilman will be in consecutive sport seasons, but she is well aware of the demands involved. She organizes her time to fit in family, friends and lots of homework. In addition to being a two-sport athlete, Heilman is also pursuing a double major in psychology and accounting, and a minor in Spanish.

Completing the trifecta of duos for Heilman—a two-sport, double-major, student-athlete—is the fact that she’s a twin.

Heilman’s twin sister, Julie, attends Hope. Over the last two years, the siblings have gone head-to-head in junior varsity basketball games. “I love playing Hope for the rivalry, and Julie and I love to go back and forth about it. I also loved playing against her, and I have gotten to know a lot of girls on the Hope team,” she said.