Alexis Venechanos is in her seventh season at the helm of the Ohio State women's lacrosse team in 2017 and has turned the program into one of the nation's best during her tenure. She has amassed a record of 66-44 at Ohio State and boasts a career record of 102-82 as a head coach.
She was named the program's second head coach on July 1, 2010, after spending four years as the head coach at Massachusetts following a three-year stint as assistant coach Northwestern and a successful playing career at Maryland.
A winner on every level, Venechanos (pronounced: ven-eh-CHAN-ohs) has been a part of four NCAA titles (as a player and coach) and a total of eight conference championships and she has now brought those winning ways to Ohio State.
Last season Venechanos led a relatively young squad to an 11-6 mark, narrowly missing out on a program-record third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, and posted double-digit wins for the third consecutive season – a first for the program. Ohio State also set program records with its 11-1 start to the season, a nine-game winning streak and a No. 8 national ranking in the Inside Lacrosse Top 20 poll. The senior class also recorded 45 wins over its four years, tying for the most all-time with the 2015 seniors. Venechanos also reached the 100-career win milestone with the Buckeyes' 18-8 win at Hofstra.
Following the season, three Buckeyes were named All-Big Ten: Cian Dabrowski, Christina Turner and Shannon Rosati. Dabrowski also was named to the IWLCA First Team All-West/Midwest Region team, the ninth first team selection for Ohio State since 2011 and the 18th overall in that span under Venechanos.
Ohio State turned in another outstanding season in 2015, finishing 13-8 overall and advancing to the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season and for the fourth time in program history. The 13 wins tied for the second-most wins in school history with the 2014 squad. The Buckeyes also finished No. 15 in the final IWLCA Top 20 poll, marking the second consecutive year finishing in the Top 15.
The 2015 season also marked the inaugural season of women’s lacrosse in the Big Ten. And the Buckeyes wasted little time leaving their mark, advancing all the way to the Big Ten Tournament championship game. On the way to the championship, Ohio State pulled off arguably the biggest win in program history, knocking off No. 1-ranked and previously undefeated Maryland, 11-10. The victory snapped a 27-game win streak by the Terrapins and gave Ohio State its first win over a No. 1-ranked team in program history.
Individual recognition followed, and rightfully so. Four Buckeyes were named to the inaugural All-Big Ten team: Jackie Cifarelli, Kate Chase, Jennifer Porretto and Taylor Donahue. Highlighting the All-Big Ten honorees were Chase and Cifarelli, who were also named to the IWLCA All-Region and Big Ten All-Tournament teams. They also were teammates at the IWLCA North/South All-Star game. Donahue joined them on the All-Region team.
The season also had it’s share of memorable and record-breaking moments. Chase set a school single-season record with 59 goals and finished her career as Ohio State’s all-time leader with 221 draw controls and finished second on Ohio State’s all-time goals list with 162. Cifarelli ranked first in the Big Ten and second in the NCAA with 2.6 assists per game and finished her career as the all-time assists leader with 179 -- the third most in NCAA history. She eclipsed the 250-career point mark in the Big Ten Tournament and finished second all-time in the Ohio State record book. Senior goalkeeper Tori DeScenza ended her career as Ohio State’s all-time leader with 43 wins and 569 saves.
But the team not only shined on the field, but off it as well, placing 19 student-athletes on the academic All-Big Ten list for having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, the most of any spring sport at Ohio State. In addition, nine Buckeyes were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars for having at least a 3.7 GPA in throughout the academic year, the most of any Ohio State sport. The team also was named an Academic Honor Squad by the IWLCA, an honor bestowed upon any team who has a cumulative grade-point-average of 3.0 or higher for the academic year.
In 2014, the Buckeyes finished the 2014 campaign with a 13-7 overall record with a 4-2 mark in ALC play, ending the year with a No. 13 national ranking by the IWLCA -- the second-best finish in school history in a national poll. It was a year to remember for the Scarlet and Gray as the Buckeyes earned their first trip to the NCAA tournament in 11 years and recorded the second-most wins in school history. Ohio State also advanced to its fourth-consecutive ALC tournament semifinal and posted a program-record nine home victories. In addition, Ohio State defeated back-to-back Top 10 opponents for the first time while the 2014 seniors set Ohio State class wins record with 42 career victories.
Prior to her arrival in Columbus, Venechanos spent four seasons at UMass where she inherited a UMass program in August 2006 that had not been to the NCAA tournament in over 20 years. Within three seasons, she took the Minutewomen back to the postseason for the first time in a quarter century. They went on to make a second consecutive NCAA trip in 2010, punctuating a career already marked by a pair of Atlantic 10 championship tournament titles (2009, 2010), an Atlantic 10 regular-season title (2009) and three appearances in the A-10 Tournament championship game.
In all, Venechanos registered an overall record of 36-38, including double-digit wins in each of the last two years, an Atlantic 10 regular-season record of 18-10 and an A-10 tournament record of 5-1. Prior to taking over the program at UMass, Venechanos served as the first assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Northwestern for the 2004-06 seasons, helping the Wildcats to the first two of five-consecutive national championships. They posted a 56-4 record during that span, winning 93 percent of their games, including a 41-1 record in her last two years.
Venechanos primarily mentored the goalies and defense at Northwestern, placing the defensive unit among the nation's best. In her final season in 2006, the Wildcats led the nation in scoring margin and were in the Top 5 in scoring defense, all with a rookie goalie. In the undefeated season of 2005, Venechanos tutored NU goalkeeper Ashley Gersuk as she posted the NCAA-best GAA and earned ALC Goalie of the Year honors, while helping the team become the top scoring defense and hold the largest scoring margin in the nation.
As a player, Venechanos was an All-America goalie at the University of Maryland, the winningest women's lacrosse program of all-time, where she captured two national championships in 2000 and 2001. The Terps went 73-15, an 83 percent win mark, during her four seasons in College Park, including a 23-0 mark in 2001, Venchanos' first as starting goalie.
As a senior captain in 2003, Venechanos was the recipient of the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Award, given to the nation's top goalkeeper. She also was a consensus first team All-American, as well as first team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and ACC Tournament MVP. Despite playing the second half of the season with a torn ACL, Venechanos posted 164 saves vs. 121 goals allowed and was in the Top 10 nationally in both save percentage (.575) and goals-against average (6.62).
In addition, Venechanos assumed the role of head coach of the Canadian national team in 2011 and led them to the Gold Medal game of the 2013 World Cup, marking the first time the Canadians advanced beyond the semifinals.
The 35-year old Venechanos (born Feb. 23, 1981) is a native of Yorktown, N.Y. where she was a three-sport athlete at Yorktown High School in lacrosse, basketball and soccer. She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Maryland.
Venechanos is married to Sarah Taylor, who is the volunteer assistant coach for the Ohio State women’s tennis program. They have three daughters, Olympia, and twins Theodora and Cecilia, and reside in Columbus.