Cats offer tribute to former captain

A  former member of the UVM women’s lacrosse team, died Feb. 12.

Vanessa Cox ‘05 was in a fatal car crash in New Hampshire.  She was 31 years old.

Cox was one of the team captains her senior year, according to the team’s coach, Jen Johnson. Johnson coached Cox for her final season in 2004 and 2005.

“She was such a competitor,” Johnson said.  “The level of work ethic she demonstrated took her to the next level.”

The “next level” for Cox was playing for the Canadian national team.

She participated in two Federation of International Lacrosse World Cups for Canada, winning a silver medal in 2013, according to UVM athletics.

“After she graduated from UVM, I got to know her as a teammate on the Canadian national team,” Johnson said. She said Cox was a “born leader.”

“She was always there for her teammates and friends,” Johnson said.

Cox’s performance on the field earned her three America East All-Conference honors. In her time at UVM, Johnson said she remembers Cox as a “very influential person.”

The former Catamount went on to be the head coach of women’s lacrosse at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for four years after leaving UVM, according to UVM Athletics.

While at MIT, Cox compiled a 36-26 record with her team and earned the NEWMAC Coach of the Year title in 2008.

“We were losing by a few goals at halftime. I think this might have been the first time that I really yelled at this team, so I wasn’t sure how they would respond.  Well, sure enough in the second half, Vanessa was inspired, and scored five goals to ensure the win,” Johnson said.

After the game, Cox wrote Johnson a letter, saying how badly she wanted to win and that she would work her hardest for the remainder of the season,” Johnson said.

At Cox’s memorial service, her family chose to honor the athlete’s love of animals and requested donations to the MSPCA-Angell’s Vanessa Cox Memorial Fund in lieu of flowers.

Donations can still be made to the nonprofit  group. Their services include veterinary care, law enforcement, adoption and advocacy.

Johnson said she remembers Cox as a “selfless, compassionate, loyal and caring” person. “She was a leader, a loyal and true friend and one of the kindest people I will ever know.”

This season the lacrosse team has been wearing patches  with her number 23 and initials in her honor.