Former Yorktown Star Venechanos Named UMass Lacrosse Coach
Aug. 25, 2006
By ALEX MYERS THE JOURNAL NEWS (Original publication: August 25, 2006)
Throughout her lacrosse career, Alexis Venechanos has always been a winner, no matter which team she was associated with -- two national championships as a college assistant coach, two national championships as a college player and three state titles as a high school goaltender.
Now, the 1999 Yorktown High graduate will be in charge of ensuring her newest squad's success.
Venechanos was named head coach of the University of Massachusetts women's lacrosse program yesterday.
"I am very much looking forward to this opportunity," Venechanos said. "I think my experiences as a player and coach will help take this program to the next level. All the pieces are there with great facilities, great support and the campus-wide interest stimulated by the recent success of the men's program (which reached the NCAA final for the first time last spring). It's a nice situation to be a part of."
Venechanos was the first assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Northwestern University the past three seasons. The Wildcats are the two-time defending national champions. Before that, she helped the University of Maryland capture titles in 2000 and 2001 as the goalie.
"We are extremely pleased to have Alexis join the UMass athletics family," director of athletics John McCutcheon said. "Her energy and experience at one of the top programs in the country will be a tremendous asset to our women's lacrosse program."
While at Yorktown, Venechanos was the goalie for a team that captured three straight state titles from 1996-1998. At the conclusion of her career at Maryland in 2003, she was awarded the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Award as the nation's top goalkeeper, and was also a first-team All-American.
"Being a goalie, you're kind of the quarterback or point guard of the team," Venechanos said. "You have to be a leader on the field, so coaching was a natural position to take."
In her three years at the Evanston-based school, the Wildcats posted a 56-4 record to become a national powerhouse, winning the first two women's lacrosse national titles in the program's history.
"The success of Northwestern definitely helped me," she said. "I've been very fortunate to be around good people."
Now the goal will be achieving the same type of success at UMass, which had a 7-11 record last year.
"It's not going to be a dramatic jump," she said. "It might take awhile, but if girls get on board with my vision and our athletic director's vision, good things will happen."
Reach Alex Myers at email@example.com or 914-696-8410.
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