Photo by Shaukeria Reese

The head coach of Otterbein’s women lacrosse team is embracing her new environment and looking to build success on the field.

Alexis Venechanos is entering her second year as head coach of the women’s lacrosse team at Otterbein. Before being hired in July of 2019, Venechanos was coming off a nine-year tenure as the head coach for women’s lacrosse at Ohio State.

Throughout her playing career at Maryland University and coaching career at Northwestern, Massachusetts and Ohio State, Venechanos was involved in four national championships; two as a player, and two as a coach.

After having success at multiple division one schools, Venechanos explored a change of scenery and landed in Westerville.

          

“I loved living in Columbus,” Venechanos said. “My wife has a great job here, me and my kids love it here. I think that being able to join an athletic department that has a winning tradition is something special and I am very grateful to have that opportunity.”

When coaching at Otterbein, Venechanos embraces the small, tight-knit community and uses it as a way to develop more personal relationships with players.

“I think being able to see them as athletes and see them as students, and watch them grow on a small, intimate level is pretty unique,” Venechanos said. “I like the opportunity to have more interactions with them and affect all aspects of their life.”

          

The athletes performing under Venechanos notice her coaching style and take into consideration what she is trying to teach them.

“[Venechanos] focuses on building relationships off of the field,” sophomore midfielder, Lauren Newkirk said. “Having the team mentality is something that she focuses on. She cares about her players and the team environment.”

In the shortened 2020 season, the women’s lacrosse team was off to their best start since 2014 at 4-2. Venechanos has developed her own theories on how to bring continuous success to Otterbein and they all start with the basics.

“I think you always start with recruiting [athletes] who are committed and who are inspired,” Venechanos said. “I want to be able to recruit more and build our roster size over the next couple of years. I think it will beneficial for the style, hopefully in the long-term, we are playing in a fast-paced transition.”

Players on the team are confident in Venechanos’ ability to bring success to Otterbein, based off her coaching style and experience.

“Venechanos has made me a fundamentally better player because she focuses on developing basic skills first,” Newkirk said. “She makes sure that everything we do at practice has a purpose. I come out of every practice and game a better player because of her coaching.”

“I think Venechanos will lead Otterbein to a winning tradition,” senior attacker, Victoria Eastep said. “She has the knowledge, skill, mindset and experience to do this.”