February 28, 2011

Hendrix Relishes Program's First-Ever Victory

by Jac Coyne | Lacrosse Magazine Online Staff | Coyne Archive | Twitter

Dan Foxx scored three goals and dished out one assist to help Hendrix beat Dallas and post the first program win in its fourth year.
© Bruce Layman/Hendrix College

There was just a brief pause as the final horn sounded in the game between the University of Dallas and Hendrix College men's lacrosse teams Friday night. In that split second, it dawned on the Hendrix players there in the Arkansas gloaming what they had achieved, and the Warriors promptly stormed down the field to embrace goalie Keith Clemens.

After three full years of toiling without a win at its lacrosse outpost in Conway, Ark., located about 20 miles north of Little Rock, Hendrix had finally posted a mark in the left-hand column. The Warriors beat Dallas, 18-2 – a score reminiscent of the ones from Hendrix' previous 36 games.

From the program's inception in 2008 through last spring, the team improved, but could not find that first win. In '08, it was shut out three times, but gave Cazenovia a scare in a 7-5 setback. In 2009, there was the 6-5 loss to Carthage and the 10-9 near-miss against Sewanee. Last year, it was a 9-8 overtime loss to Southwestern.

Finally, on Friday, the payoff came.

"The players were very happy to get their first win, which the seniors have really worked hard for and been through a lot in four years to achieve," said Hendrix coach Curt Foxx. "They were very pleased with themselves, but today that game is in the past, and as soon as the sun rose, our focus as a team was on our next opponent, Carthage College."

It's not surprising that Foxx, who is in his first year with Hendrix, led the Warriors to their first-ever win. He's been there before. Foxx was an assistant at Hood College in 2007-08 before taking over as head coach while the Blazers were in the midst of a 46-game losing streak to start its program's existence.

The Blazers snapped their streak in Foxx' first year – a 12-7 win over Gwynedd-Mercy in 2009. It took Hood a bit longer to end its skid because unlike Hendrix, which had the relative luxury of choosing its opponents as an independent for the past three seasons, Hood was slotted into the Capital Athletic Conference – the same league as Salisbury.

Playing in that kind of power conference taught Foxx exactly what he needed to do when he signed on with Hendrix last summer.

"We had a 36-game losing streak, but with the new coaching staff, we have been making a culture change since August," Foxx said. "This team has a renewed sense of self and a fresh start. We made it clear that this would be a clean slate for all student-athletes, and they have responded by working extremely hard, fundamentally and physically, to get better."

An objective observer might find more potential wins on the Hendrix schedule this season, although a shot at the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference title might be ambitious for this season.

But after a three-year wait for their coveted first victory, the Warriors are only looking higher.

"There are many ways to keep the upward trajectory this season," Foxx said. "We try to get better every day in practice and in each game, and we try to stay humble no matter what the situation, or who we are playing. On any given day, we believe we can win a game if we stick to our strengths and follow our game plan. We have the ability to win, and if we play our game, we will be successful."

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