From left to right, Lacey Frazier, Cam MacGillivray and Kealsie Robles.
From left to right, Lacey Frazier, Cam MacGillivray and Kealsie Robles.
ODU Athletics

ODU Goalkeepers Setting the Standard

September 06, 2018
By ODU Athletics

NORFOLK, Va. -- The goalkeepers for the 2018 Old Dominion field hockey team are a unique group. Talented, charismatic, humble.

Their credentials speak for themselves.

Kealsie Robles, a senior from Yorktown, is a member of the U.S. National Development Squad and was called up to the Senior National Team for a tournament in Japan Sept. 12-16.

She will miss the next three games, but enter Lacey Frazier and Cam MacGillivray.

Frazier, a redshirt sophomore from Virginia Beach, is on the U.S. U-21 National Team.

MacGillivray, a redshirt freshman from Calgary, Canada, is a member of the Canadian U-21 Team.

Together, they are striving to set a team-first standard at ODU that is more than just honors and accolades.

“We all want each other to succeed,” said Robles, the veteran leader of the group. “It’s not that if one person succeeds, the other two don’t. We succeed as a team. I think all three of us really hone in on that team-first aspect.”

The only downside of having three elite goalkeepers is managing playing time and expecations. All three would likely be starters for most other Division I programs.

Head coach Andrew Griffiths is the man tasked with that challenge.

“In my 20 years of coaching, I’ve never had a situation like this where we have so many strengths at one position,” said Griffiths. “Our team mentality this year has been everyone focusing on each other’s strengths and building each other up, and that’s really true for our goalkeepers.”

So far this season, the dynamic between the goalkeepers and Griffiths is succeeding. The players are buying into the group mentality and the results have been impressive.

Through four games, ODU goalkeepers have posted a combined three shutouts, tied for the most in the nation. Their 0.73 goals against average is 12th in the country and their 81.3 save percentage is 17th.

Robles is 2-0 with a 1.43 goals against average, while Frazier and MacGillivray are both 1-0 and have yet to allow a goal.

“Each have had critical moments where they’ve come up big and had an impact on the outcome of a game,” said Griffiths.

Frazier, with a key stop on a penalty stroke in the 3-0 blanking of No. 17 James Madison.

MacGillivray, with a crucial save in the waning minutes of a shutout win against Kent State.

And Robles, with a flurry of goal-preventing parries in the comeback win at No. 22 William & Mary.

But, despite the highs and lows, goalkeepers must remain level-headed, as they are a key leader and communicator for the team.

“No matter what happens in goal, we have to keep a positive attitude,” said MacGillivray, who is the quietest of the group. Her subtle confidence is one of her greatest strengths.

Like MacGillivray’s confidence, each goalkeeper has an attribute that sets them apart.

In the words of Frazier, ‘goalies don’t like talking about their strengths.’ However, when asked about their teammates, the compliments are endless.

“Lacey has insane reactions,” exclaimed Robles. “If there’s a ball going across the cage and you don’t think she’ll get there, she’ll get there.”

“If Kealsie is going to do something, it’s going to be to the T and it’s going to be right every single time,” responded Frazier. “Like her kicking. No one can match Kealsie’s kicking.”

“Cam is crazy with her tight spaces,” continued Robles. “Go into her bubble and she’ll crush you. She’s so good one-on-one.”

Individually, they may have small weaknesses. But as a unit, they are a tough beat for any opponent.

“We all have different styles, for sure. I think that’s what’s cool about our goalkeeping unit,” said Frazier.

And so it is a game-by-game approach for Griffiths and the goalies.

“I’m really confident in any of them,” said Griffiths. “Each week, I look at who was killing it in practice. Some weeks, they are all killing it and it makes it really tough.”

The constant competition for playing time keeps the trio sharp, especially during practice.

“It pushes us to not only be at our best, but to push each other to be at their best,” said Robles. “It’s a really healthy relationship between the three of us.”

This is the second year of that relationship. Last year, the unit was the same, with Frazier and Robles splitting the duties in the cage, while MacGillivray redshirted.

Through four games last year, ODU was 1-3 and had conceded 13 goals. This year, it’s been a completely different story. The Monarchs are 4-0, the team’s best start since 2011, and have allowed just three goals.

The improvement can be linked to the group’s improved dynamic and healthy competitiveness.

“I think in the past, we’ve borderlined on that cutthroat culture,” said Frazier about the goalkeepers’ past dynamic. “We’re getting to the point now where it’s like ‘I want you to play your best’ and then I’m going to play better. And then the next person will play even better. We’re just elevating each other, rather than pushing the other person down to get higher. I think that’s what makes it such a positive environment.”

The rest of the team feeds off of the positive environment. That team-first mentality has played a key role in the team’s early season success.

“I think they see how much we are competing, but also supporting, and I think that’s a standard that we’re helping set on the team,” ended Frazier. “We help our teammates and support them, whether they are playing above us or not.”

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