Oxford Hills coach Lindsay Fox needed to get creative last year when replacing an experienced goalie who had graduated.

That plan was by necessity. The plan that she hatched for this season has been by design, and it has worked out for both goalies that Fox has deployed.

Senior Cassidy MacIsaac, a natural defender, has started the first half of every Vikings game this season. Sophomore Lizzy Hallee has then taken over at the start of every second half.

Oxford Hills goalkeeper Cassidy Maclsaac played in net the first half against Lewiston on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“Part of it was the fact that this is a short season, and I wanted them both to get experience in the goal,” Fox said. “And I felt like Lizzy did deserve the time in the goal, and I wanted to also reward Cassidy for the sacrifices she made last year.”

In 2019, MacIsaac, then a junior, gave up her spot on defense and moved to goalie when the Vikings were trying to replace departed stalwart goalie Jillian Douglas. Hallee was the only goalie on the roster, but she was a freshman, and Fox said she needed to gain some experience before getting the keys to the Vikings’ goal mouth.

“Last year was pretty much just a learning experience for me, and having Cassidy there, knowing that all the pressure wasn’t on me, it was really, really helpful,” Hallee said.

Fox said she was proud of MacIsaac for taking over the varsity starting job last year.

“That was definitely challenging,” MacIsaac said. “I hadn’t played goal since I was in elementary school, so it was definitely different, but I enjoy it a lot.”

The two goalies started learning from each other immediately. Hallee was able to help teach MacIsaac about positioning, among other things, but Hallee said that MacIsaac was able to teach her “just as much.”

Oxford Hills goalkeeper Elizabeth Hallee played in net the second half against Lewiston on Thursday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

MacIsaac said she appreciated Hallee’s help because when it came to her new role, being tall was the only thing she had going for her. Prior defensive knowledge helped as well.

“I think that they push each other, and they do talk to each other in practice and in games to help each other and help the team,” Fox said.

That working relationship helped Fox decide to go with a two-goalie system this year. Both MacIsaac and Hallee said they were excited when Fox brought the idea to them. Especially since part of the deal is that MacIsaac gets to go back to defense in the second half, after Hallee does the same in the first half.

“I like that I get kind of the best of both worlds at this,” MacIsaac said.

“I’ve always loved to play field, too, and I love goalie,” Hallee said before also calling it the best of both worlds.

MacIsaac admitted that some games she can’t wait to ditch her goalie gloves and get back in the field, but there have been other games, such as Thursday’s win over Lewiston, that she enjoyed both experiences.

Hallee doesn’t mind waiting to get her turn in goal, and she has used the time out of the goal and in the field to prepare herself for second halves manning the net.

“I feel really warmed up and ready, excited to play,” Hallee said. “I know what to expect. I’ve been watching Cass in goal the whole first half and knowing players and learning how they play and what to expect.”

It will be a different experience for Hallee next year, without MacIsaac.

“I mean, I am (excited to be the lone No. 1 goalie), but I’m really going to miss having that bond between me and Cass that we’ve obviously built over the past two years,” she said.

“I have nothing but great expectations for her,” MacIsaac said. “I know she’s going to do great, and she’s just going to keep maturing as a goalie and as a person.”

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