Men’s soccer opens 16th season
The men’s soccer team is preparing for its 16th season and second year under Head Coach Arthur Salazar.
After finishing the 2021 campaign in second place, the Saints enter the season picked to finish fourth in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The defending champion University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) is picked first, followed by LSU-Shreveport (LSUS) and LSU-Alexandria (LSUA). After OLLU are the University of the Southwest (USW) and Huston-Tillotson University (HTU) and Louisiana Christian University (LCU) picked tied for sixth and Jarvis Christian University (JCU) and Texas A&M University – Texarkana (TAMUT) tied for eighth. Paul Quinn College (PWC), Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMUSA) and Texas College (TC) rounded out the list.
Schedule overview (Numbers after school indicate all-time records)
After a scrimmage against alumni on Aug. 14 at noon, the Saints will host NCAA D2 Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) for a scrimmage on Aug. 17 at 1 p.m. The team will then travel to Seguin, Texas, for a scrimmage against NCAA D3 Texas Lutheran University (5-2-3) on Aug. 22. They will host NCAA D3 Schreiner University (7-1) on Aug. 28 at 1 p.m.
OLLU plays an extensive number of matches before entering conference competition. The Saints will face Kansas Wesleyan University for the first time in program history at home on Sept. 2. The team heads to Plainview, Texas, to play Wayland Baptist University (1-4-1) on Sept. 6 and NCAA D3 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (2-0) on Sept. 10 in Belton, Texas.
The Saints welcome the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (2-3) on Sept. 15 and Oklahoma City University (2-3-2) two days later for the final games before conference play.
LSUS (6-4) hosts the Saints on Sept. 22 in Shreveport, La., and TAMUT (8-0) battles OLLU in Texarkana, Texas, on Sept. 24. The Saints’ first home conference matches are versus LSUA (2-6-4) and LCU (1-0) on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1.
The schedule takes the team West in Hobbs, N.M., to face USW (11-7) on Oct. 6 and to Dallas on Oct. 8 to play PQC (3-1-1). TC (10-2-1) and JCU (8-0) arrive in San Antonio on Oct. 13 and Oct. 15. The Saints have fared well against both programs in recent history.
The Saints head to Victoria, Texas, to battle a tough UHV (8-7-2) squad on Oct. 20. They finish the conference regular season with a match at home against HTU (8-8-2) on Oct. 22 and a road showdown in South San Antonio against local rivals TAMUSA (1-0) on Oct. 29.
Salazar is aided by Assistant Coach Marcelo Chapa. Chapa enters his sixth season on the sidelines after playing for the Saints from 2012-2015. The Saints finished 8-5-3 overall last season and 7-1-3 in RRAC matches. OLLU lost to LSUA in the semifinals of the RRAC Tournament last November.
OLLU will boast 10 seniors on the 2022 squad. Senior leaders include Connor Bagley, Joseph Baker, Miguel Barrera, Randy Dominguez, Christopher Marcus, Javier Pena, Kevin Rios, Tim Talabi, David Tellez and Christopher Zepeda.
Bagley was named to the All-Conference Team as an honorable mention last season and was joined by Javier Pena and Joseph Baker, both of whom garnered second-team honors.
The Saints welcome back seven sophomores and junior Michael Huff. Huff earned a spot on the Red River All-Freshman. The sophomore class features David Aviles, Andres Azpeytia, Matthew Banda, Luis Castro, Ulysses Martinez, Thomas Sauceda and Victor Villegas.
There will be a massive 13 additions to help the Saints compete for a conference title this season. The freshmen group includes Harry Acklam, Alejandro Avila, Uriel Gonzalez, Cristian Govea Mireles, Papa Gueye, Carlos Hernandez, Abraham Lincon, Kyle Niederhofer, Eden Ocanas, Tomas Olivares, Ben Rios, Diego Rodriguez, Cade Ryan, Alex Traynor, Adan Valenzuela, Zahir Villanueva and Karson Webb. Two juniors – Sagesse Gutsa and Adrian Maldonado – join the Saints from Lonestar College Cy-Fair and Texas Lutheran University, respectively. The squad includes five San Antonio natives.
The men’s team has earned the NAIA Scholar Team award for the last five years, and the men are led by those returners who garnered 4.0 GPAs – Connor Bagley and Matthew Banda.
Live-streaming and fan experience
The Saints will live-stream home events, including live commentary on the OLLU Saints Network. Fans will also be able to follow live statistics online. OLLU will improve the in-person fan experience for the second consecutive season using the digital scoreboard.