Senior Stephanie Diaz wants to leave her mark on the OLLU soccer program

diaz2Stephanie Diaz came to Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) as a freshman to play soccer in 2011. Now a senior, Diaz looks ahead to her final season as a member and captain of the women’s soccer team. In the past three years Diaz has played in 57 games where she has scored 25 goals and had 12 assists.

Last season she was instrumental in helping the women’s team capture its first-ever Red River Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles leading the team in total goals. But the senior from Katy, Texas, is looking to add to her illustrious career as a Saint in her final season.

“I want to go out with a bang,” said Diaz. “There’s still a lot I want to accomplish.”

Over the summer, Diaz has worked on improving her skills. She was a member of the Houston Aces South Select team that competes in the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL).

“Playing for the Aces was a great opportunity to play with other college level players and stay in rhythm,” said Diaz. Players from both the NAIA and NCAA participate in the WPSL.

However, playing in a competitive summer league is not where it ends for Diaz. She maintains a rigorous workout schedule to ensure she is in prime shape when she returns to OLLU.

“You have to be fit enough to play the entire 90 minutes,” said Diaz. “I try to prepare myself for that by running in the afternoons when the weather conditions are similar to what we play in.”

Diaz also takes her captaincy for the Saints very seriously. Despite being away for summer, she keeps in constant communication with the rest of her teammates and stresses the importance of the summer workouts.

“I text my teammates to make sure they work out and stay in shape and come in prepared when the season starts,” said Diaz.

She is confident that if everyone does their part, they can be back where they were last season – a national tournament appearance.

“I know we can win again. I want another ring,” she said.

However, for her senior year she wants to take it further. A national tournament appearance is not enough for Diaz. Last year the Saints lost in the opening round of the national tournament, a barrier that Diaz wants to get past.

It hasn’t all been work for Diaz this summer. Because of her involvement with the Aces, she’s had the opportunity to travel around the country. While traveling she was able to keep up with the World Cup games.

“I had the opportunity to watch the games with my teammates in hotel lobbies,” she said. “That was a fun experience, especially because some of my teammates are from different countries like Colombia, Netherlands and Mexico.”

Overall, Diaz is looking forward to her senior season at OLLU.

“It’s been an amazing experience. I’m glad I picked OLLU to play soccer,” she said. “It’s such a great program and I want to leave my mark and continue to contribute to the development of the program.”

The women’s soccer team will kick off its 2014 season as the defending conference champion Aug. 22 in a scrimmage against Texas Lutheran University.