N I A G A R A G A Z E T T E niagara-gazette.comMay 19, 2010
GRAND ISLAND —
Courtney Cox is a household name nationwide, but on Grand Island they’re
talking about someone else entirely.
The high school senior named Courtney Cox is a star on the lacrosse field for the Vikings. The long stick midfielder is a three-year starter on varsity and has played a big role on a squad suffering through injuries this season.
“We have moved him to short stick a little bit because of injuries,” said Grand Island lacrosse coach Steve Steck. “He’s a polished enough player where he can really do anything.”
The move to short stick means a bigger role on offense, but as a midfielder he’s known for his shut down defense as well.
“He actually is the first takeaway defenseman we’ve had in a while,” Steck said, explaining that his ability to strip the ball away from the opposition and start the rush upfield makes him extremely valuable.
“We’ve had some good defenseman but mainly stick-on-gloves defenseman,” he added. “Court can throw a series of checks and if we need the ball he can take it.”
“Taking the ball away is my favorite thing to do,” Cox said when asked about his defensive work. “I love to take the ball, pick it up and take it up on offense.”
One of Cox’s main duties on the field is to be as vocal as possible. Where many lacrosse teams have multiple coaches to direct the team during games, Grand Island only has Steck to coach the squad. That means relying on the players to make adjustments on the fly.
“One of the things we really preach to the kids is you have to talk on defense,” Steck said. “You have to communicate and it comes natural to Court.”
That means keeping an eye on everyone on the field, something he learned from his days playing hockey.
“I think the awareness is similar,” he said of how he’s transfered his days on the ice to the lacrosse field. “There are a ton of guys all over the place and you’ve got to know where everyone is.”
Cox said he likes to be versatile as a midfielder but knows he’s out there to be physical. That’s why he’s hit the weightroom this year, a move that has paid big dividends.
“He can physically dominate guys just with his strength,” coach Steck said of his midfielder, noting that his decision to hit the weights happened on his own in hopes of playing college lacrosse.
“When I was a sophomore coach told me that he thinks I could definitely play college lacrosse,” Cox said, noting that hockey was his first love but over the years he’s focused more on lacrosse. “Since then I’ve always wanted to play.”
Cox said he is heading to Division III Plattsburgh in the fall, a move his head coach approves of.
“I’m really happy he picked (Plattsburgh) because he’s going to be on the field for four years there and be a big part of their program,” Steck said, stressing that Cox has a great chance to start for the Cardinals as a freshman.
So what about that name? Does he take a lot of heat from the other teams over sharing a name with a former Friends star?
“There’s always those people that have to crack a couple jokes, but a name’s a name,” Cox said, noting that his only nickname is “Court.” Steck said he’s heard the jokes as well, but they usually don’t last long once he hits the field.
“Other teams will say some stuff, but as soon as he’s on the field they see the way he plays and how tough he is,” Steck said. “I think it shuts a lot of people up.”
• SCHOOL: Grand Island
• YEAR: Senior
• POSITION: Midfielder
• COACH STEVE STECK SAYS: “He can physically dominate guys just with his strength.”