University of Connecticut

No Men's Program Storrs, CT 06269
Division 1 Connecticut Northeast
Public Large National competitor


Email coach

Katie Woods

Katie Woods enters up her tenth season as head coach at UConn in 2020. Woods 84 wins and .552 win percentage at UConn both mark the highest in program history, as Woods looks to continue her reign as the most successful coach in UConn women's lacrosse history.

Woods coached her players to great success in 2018 and for the first time in program history guided two Huskies to IWLCA All-American status. Seniors Cassie Ekstrom and Grace Nolan were tabbed Second and Third Team All-Americans, respectively, in addition to being named to the IWLCA All-Northeast Region First Team. Ektsrom and Nolan established themselves as the top players in the BIG EAST Conference and were selected as the BIG EAST Defensive and Offensive Players of the Year, respectively, as well as while being honored as All-Conference First Team selections. Nolan left UConn as the all-time points (285) and goals (186) and was selected to the 2018 All-ECAC Second Team. Woods also coached freshman Sydney Watson to All-Northeast Region Second Team and BIG EAST Second Team accolades.

Woods helped UConn make history in 2015, helping UConn to accomplished two firsts in the 2015 Big East Tournament after topping Georgetown in the semifinal round. The win marked UConn's first Big East postseason victory in program history and sent the Huskies to their first ever Big East Championship game. Connecticut fell to top-seeded Florida in the finals, as UConn ended the season with double-digit win total (11-7).

In 2015 three UConn players and the Huskies coaching staff each took home major Big East season awards prior to the start of the conference tournament. Lauren Kwasnowski was tabbed the League's Defender of the Year, while Shannon Nee (Goalkeeper of the Year) and Grace Nolan (Rookie of the Year) were also both recognized. Woods and her staff earned Big East Coaching Staff of the Year after leading a Huskies team that once again finished perfect (6-0) at home during the regular season.

That January, Woods was inducted into the CT Lacrosse Hall of Fame along with six other honorees. The Connecticut native, who was a three-sport athlete in high school was recognized in a ceremony on Jan. 30 in Milford, Conn.

In 2013, Woods helped the Huskies make history, as Connecticut finished the season 13-5 and clinched a berth in both the BIG EAST Championships and NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history.

Woods joined the University of Connecticut as the head women's lacrosse coach in 2011 after serving in the same role for the previous four years at American University.

During her time at American, the Eagles collected 23 all-conference selections, five Patriot League Player of the Year honors and 72 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll accolades. Following the 2008 season Woods was named the Patriot League Coach of the Year after leading the Eagles to a 5-1 record in league play and a share of the regular season championship.

During the 2004 season Woods was the first assistant at Cornell where she worked with the attack and aided in player development. With the Big Red she also planned team travel and was responsible for recruiting and film breakdown. Woods later joined Brown University as an assistant coach in 2005 and 2006, coaching the offensive unit and assisted in goalkeeper coaching.

Prior to her time at Cornell, Woods served as an assistant coach at Davidson for the 2003 season where she helped plan practices and organized recruiting efforts in addition to coaching during contests.

Woods also spent a year at Ithaca College in 2002 as a graduate assistant coach for both women's soccer and lacrosse. While at Ithaca, she earned her master's in exercise and sports sciences.

Woods was a two-sport athlete at Drew, where she played lacrosse and soccer. She was a four-time All-Conference selection in lacrosse, also picking up two Regional All-America and one National All-America award. Woods also excelled in the classroom as a two-time Scholar Athlete award winner.

She graduated with a degree in psychology in May 2001. Woods is a 1997 graduate of South Windsor High School where she played soccer, basketball and lacrosse.

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Email coach

Lauren Gunning

Lauren Gunning, who played lacrosse at UConn from 2008-11, joined the Huskies coaching staff in 2014.

Gunning, who handles the offensive unit, coached senior attacker Grace Nolan to IWLCA All-America status in 2018. Under Gunning's guidance, Nolan, a third team All-American, played her way to All-ECAC Second Team, IWLCA All-Northeast Region First Team and All-BIG EAST First Team honors during her senior campaign. Nolan earned her second BIG EAST Attacker of the Year accolade in 2018 and graduated as the program's all-time leader in points (285) and goals (186). Her coaching efforts also landed freshman Sydney Watson as All-Northeast Region Second Team and BIG EAST Second Team selections.

Gunning coached Nolan to IWLCA All-Region First Team honors, an All-BIG EAST First Team selection and garner BIG EAST Attacker of the Year accolades in 2016. Additionally, Nolan was tabbed the conference Rookie of the Year in 2015 after leading the team with 20 assists, while notching 46 points and 26 goals.

In 2015, the Huskies (11-7) reached double-digit wins for the fourth straight season in Gunning's first year on the coaching staff. Connecticut reached the Big East Finals for the first time in program history, and four UConn players were named to the All-Big East First Team. Gunning, head coach Katie Woods and assistant coach Forrest Stillwell were tabbed the 2015 Big East Coaching Staff of the Year after guiding a Connecticut team that finished top-20 nationally in three statistical categories (caused turnovers per game, assists per game and ground balls per game).

The Hunt Valley, Md. native returned to Storrs following a three-year coaching stint at the University of Cincinnati from 2011-2014. Gunning worked primarily with the Bearcats' offensive unit and spent time developing Cincinnati's goalkeepers. She also aided in the team's recruiting and scouting efforts, helping the Bearcats tie a program record with seven wins in 2013.

Prior to Cincinnati, Gunning was an assistant coach in the fall of 2011 at Iona, where she worked directly with the attack unit and assisted the head coach in running daily practices. She has participated in several camps throughout her coaching career, including Game On Lacrosse Camp at UConn, Duke Lacrosse Camp and the Triple Threat Lacrosse Camp.

Gunning tallied 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) while playing for the Huskies and she was named to the Big East All-Academic Team in each of her four seasons at Connecticut. She recorded a career-high seven goals as a senior-captiain, leading the Huskies to a 9-7 overall record in Woods' first year as head coach.

Gunning graduated from UConn with a bachelor's degree in sports management, finishing her time at Connecticut with a 3.6 cumulative GPA and Dean's list honors.

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Taylor VanThorf

VanThof joined the UConn women's lacrosse staff in July of 2019.

Drafted 14th overall by the Philly Fire in the 2019 WPLL Spring Draft, VanThof comes to Storrs after wrapping up a successful four-year career as a member and team captain of the Loyola Maryland women's lacrosse team, where she owns the school record for the most draw controls in a single game (21), season (146) and career (392).

Tabbed as the 2019 Patriot League Midfielder of the Year, VanThof proved to be a volatile threat out on the pitch as she amassed 103 goals and 26 assists during her career.

In addition to being named a 2018 Tewaaraton Award Semifinalist, VanThof has also garnered a plethora of other distinctions throughout her illustrious career, which include being honored as an IWLCA Second Team All-American and an ILWomen Third Team All-American in both 2018 and 2019, as well as three selections to the All-Patriot League First Team and the All-Mid-Atlantic Region team.

"Taylor brings a wealth of strong playing experience from a top program in Loyola, as well as the Women's Professional League," Woods added. "She's going to make an immediate impact on our program."

Off the field, VanThof shares her passion and knowledge of lacrosse through coaching, where she has held assistant coaching roles with the Lady Roc, Coppermine and SEVEN Lacrosse Training programs. Currently, VanThof serves as the head coach of the Greene Turtle Lacrosse team where she provides instructional sessions and skill development for the youth teams.

A native of Livonia, N.Y., VanThof earned her Bachelors of Business Administration: Marketing from Loyola Maryland in May 2019.

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