Malcolm Hillewaert was ranked No. 1 among goalies in Colorado during his senior campaign with the Bulldogs. Now he'll be fighting for a spot, and playing time, with the Hastings College Broncos.
"I didn't have anyone to compete against before. Now I have some competition, with four new goalies coming in the same time as me," Hillewaert said.
Hillewaert is pairing up with another former Bulldog, Schuyler Hammond. Both are attending Hastings on soccer scholarships.
Hillewaert and Hammond will be roommates in the dorms, so there is a little familiarity and comfort in the transition.
"It helps out a lot that he's going to be there," Hillewaert said.
Hillewaert will have his work cut out for him on the field and in the classroom, but he is ready to tackle the challenge.
"I'm not sure what I want to major in yet, but I'm going to get the core classes out of the way," Hillewaert said.
Broncos coach Chris Kranjc said he's had his eye on Hillewaert for a while.
"He was on our radar," said Kranjc. "Coach (Jeff) Hammond had contacted us, and after we saw Malcolm and Schuyler, we had a definite interest."
Hillewaert is excited for the new endeavor.
"It's a good opportunity for me," Hillewaert said.
As an All-State honorable mention player, Hillewaert was asked to play in the 2006 Colorado High School Soccer Coaches Association All-State game in Littleton, he also played for El Mexico earlier in the summer, getting some touches on the ball.
During high school, Hille--waert elevated his game and was ranked as the No. 1 goalkeeper in Class 4A soccer with 262 saves in 34 games his senior season.
Hillewaert began his soccer career as a forward but was put into the goalkeeping position and discovered he had a knack for saves.
"Once I got put back there, I liked it," Hillewaert said. "I have some hops, so I don't get scored on high, and I can stop shots. I think I need to work on breakaways though."
Kranjc said Hillewaert is a good fit in the Broncos program.
"He has the tools and the skills, but he'll need to get a little bit of technical refinement," Kranjc said. "It will be interesting to see how he improves over the course of the year."
With an All-American goalkeeper in Chris Ladwig, Kranjc thinks the competition among the new goalies will be good for the team.
"Chris is our projected starter," Kranjc said. "But we're trying to find his replacement for next year."
Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or firstname.lastname@example.org.