Team USA seeking to defend 2009 world championship
Alexis Venechanos is in her third season as an assistant coach at Northwestern, and with her help it has been a historic run. The culmination came May 22, when the Wildcats won the 2005 NCAA national championship. The 'Cats went 21-0 in 2005, swept through the American Lacrosse Conference (ALC) with a 6-0 mark and led the nation in scoring offense, scoring defense, scoring margin and draw controls per game. Under Venechanos' tutelage, NU goalkeeper Ashley Gersuk was the ALC Goalie of the Year and boasted the best goals-against average in the country.
In 2004, Venechanos' first on the staff, the Wildcats finished with a 15-3 record overall including a 13-game winning streak during the regular season; ranked as high as sixth in the IWLCA national coaches poll; and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the program was restored to varsity status in 2002. In addition, NU won a share of the ALC title with a 5-1 mark, with the only loss coming in overtime to co-champion Vanderbilt.
Venechanos came to Evanston from the University of Maryland, where she graduated in 2003 after a standout career in the goal for the Terrapins. As a senior, Venechanos was recipient of the Ensign C. Markland Kelly Award, given to the nation's top goalkeeper. She was also a consensus first-team All-America as well as first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and ACC Tournament MVP. Despite playing the second half of the season on a torn ACL, Venechanos posted 164 saves versus 121 goals allowed and was in the top 10 nationally in both save percentage (.575) and goals-against average (6.62).
A three-year starter for the Terps-and captain of the 2003 team-Venechanos backstopped Maryland's 2001 national championship team and three ACC championship squads.