November 7, 2012

A Leader On And Off The Field

By Caitlin Forrester
Special to GoHolyCross.com

Holy Cross women's soccer senior Maura Fox (Shrewsbury, Mass.) has showcased her success both on and off the field during her four years here as a Crusader, leading the team as captain during both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Fox appeared in all 53 collegiate games over the past four years, starting in 51 of those games.  She recorded nine goals and five assists for a total of 23 points in her career. This season, she not only led the team statistically with three assists, but also created a positive environment for her teammates, showing that hard work, self belief and perseverance can lead to success.

Fox has also excelled off the field by exemplifying her leadership in the Holy Cross community. Fox, who is a psychology major, has been named to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll twice and has been a two-time member of the Holy Cross Leadership Academy. Fox and her teammates believe it is important to give back to the local community by volunteering in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. Recently, she earned the "Leader of Distinction" honor, qualifying for this award by earning her teammates and coaches utmost trust and respect by scoring a 105 or above on her evaluation. Fox has undoubtedly made a major impact on the women's soccer program both on and off the field throughout her successful four years.  

Recently, Fox talked to GoHolyCross.com to give us more insight on her life as a Holy Cross student-athlete over the past four years.

GoHolyCross.com: Why did you choose Holy Cross? What will you take away from Holy Cross?

Fox: I chose Holy Cross because it is a school where both athletics and academics are held in high regard. I was drawn to the combination of being a student-athlete, not just an athlete or a student. I saw that a great deal of the Holy Cross population managed to balance the life in the classroom and the strenuousness of being a Division I athlete, and knew I wanted to do just the same.  I have received an amazing education at this school, and was granted opportunities here that I would not have obtained elsewhere. Due to the small class sizes, I was able to form great relationships with professors who have helped me in various ways as I prepare for life after college. I will always be grateful for the relationships I have formed at this school.

GoHolyCross.com: What are some of your favorite aspects of being part of the Holy Cross women's soccer team?

Fox: One of my favorite aspects of my soccer experience here was simply being part of a team. Having the support system of twenty-something other girls throughout these past four years has been awesome, and they really helped me my freshman year in transitioning to college and feeling welcomed and part of something.

GoHolyCross.com: Who have been some positive influences in your life in soccer? What have they taught you and why have they been a positive influence?

Fox: One of the most positive influences in my soccer life was my club coach, Deb Cox, who was also the Holy Cross coach prior to my freshman year. I grew so much as a player with her, and she always pushed me to get better and to ask more of myself. The work ethic I have now is because of her. She showed me what it meant to put in the extra effort, extra fitness and extra practice. She was an All-American at the University of Michigan, and I looked up to her as a mentor and strived to be like her. She always reminded me of the player I am and the player I can be, and was extremely encouraging.

GoHolyCross.com: What have you learned from Holy Cross head coach Darren Gallagher throughout your four years? What have you learned from your soccer career at Holy Cross that has made you the player that you are today?

Fox: Coach was one of the first people who held me accountable. He taught me how to accept constructive criticism, because he believed in me and knew I could go out there, work on it, and improve. I also learned how important it is to put the team in front of yourself.  My freshman year, if I didn't think I was playing the best game, I would get quiet. He was the one to make me realize that going quiet and getting in my head was not helping the team. From then on, I tried my best no matter how the game was going for me personally, to be a leader and be loud on the field for the full 90 minutes. These lessons have definitely developed me into the player I am today, and I have used these experiences to try to be the best captain that I can be.

GoHolyCross.com: The team is very active in volunteering in the local community (Big Brothers/Big Sisters). Can you talk about what it means to the team and why is it so important to volunteer and help out the community?

Fox: Everyone on the team loves being apart of Big Brothers/Big Sisters. I think we have all realized that we are very lucky and fortunate for the opportunities we have been granted. We are grateful for where we are, having the chance to go to such a great school, since we know that not everyone receives the same possibilities. It's important to give back to the local communities by volunteering so we can share our opportunities. In the end, we probably get back more than our "little sisters" do. It is a learning experience on both ends, and I am so happy to be apart of the program.

GoHolyCross.com: Is there anything that the coaches told you that you needed to improve on earlier in your career and you feel like you have improved on?

Fox: During my freshman year, I remember coaches pulling Maggie McGoldrick (Cohasset, Mass.) and I aside and telling us to work on becoming more of a vocal force during games. We had to get comfortable with talking and directing our teammates, and keeping the playing environment positive yet also holding players accountable at the same time. This was tough when we were underclassmen, since we didn't want to step on any of the older girl's shoes, but it helped us grow and I was thankful to go through this with Maggie by my side. I think the coaches holding Maggie and I responsible for communicating during practices and games have helped both of us develop into the leaders that we are today. And I think the coaches will agree that we have made great strides since our first few weeks as quiet freshmen!

GoHolyCross.com: Being from Shrewsbury, Mass., how did it feel to have support from your family during your collegiate playing career?

Fox: The support I have received from my family has been absolutely amazing. I am so blessed to be able to have my family and relatives at the majority of my games, especially those tough losses where all you need is someone to remind you how much you love the sport, and reassure you that you will bounce back and to look forward to next game. My family has been so encouraging, and I am so thankful they have been there every step of the way with me.

GoHolyCross.com: What is your most memorable soccer moment while playing at Holy Cross? What will you miss the most about playing for Holy Cross after you graduate?

Fox: My most memorable moment was this season when we beat Army in our Patriot League opener. It was a great feeling, since we have made such strides this fall as a team and as a program. No feeling is better than when all of your hard work pays off, and our team really deserved that win. It was great to experience that with everyone. I will miss being a part of the team. These girls have become my best friends, and it's going to be hard to leave them. But I know they will continue to do great things, and I can't wait to come back and watch them next fall!

GoHolyCross.com: What do you plan on doing after graduation?

Fox: I plan on doing two years of clinical research and then hopefully going to medical school.

GoHolyCross.com: Being senior captain and experiencing four seasons of playing soccer for Holy Cross, what advice would you give the younger players the for future seasons?

Fox: This season we made such improvements because we remained positive, developed an unbelievable team atmosphere, and set team and individual goals that we worked so hard to accomplish. My biggest advice to younger players is to remain positive and to believe in yourself and each other. This year, there was a difference because each time we took the field, no matter who we were playing, we believed we could win. That winning environment needs to continue so that this program can keep moving in the positive direction.