Women’s soccer begins 15th season on Aug. 17
The women’s soccer team starts its campaign for a Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) title on Aug. 17, led by Head Coach Arthur Salazar. The program enters its 15th season and 10th year under Salazar.
The Saints completed the 2021 season as conference runners-up after falling to Louisiana Christian University (LCU) in the postseason tournament. OLLU is picked to finish the 2022 season in second place in the RRAC Women’s Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll. Defending champions LCU were selected as first place finishers, followed by the University of the Southwest (USW) in third, the University of Houston-Victoria (UHV) in fourth, Huston-Tillotson University (HTU) in fifth, Texas A&M University-Texarkana (TAMUT) in sixth, LSU-Shreveport (LSUS) in seventh, LSU-Alexandria (LSUA) in eighth, Jarvis Christian University (JCU) in ninth, Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMUSA) in 10th, Paul Quinn College (PQC) in 11th and Texas College (TC) in 12th.
Schedule overview (Numbers after school indicate all-time records.)
After the Saints play alumni on Aug. 14, they play two scrimmages before the regular season schedule starts. They host Texas A&M University International University (2-0) on Aug. 17 and travel to Seguin, Texas, to play Texas Lutheran University (7-2) on Aug. 22.
The Saints will battle six teams before entering RRAC competition. They open the season by hosting Kansas Wesleyan University (0-1) on Sept. 2. OLLU will head to Plainview, Texas, four days later to face Wayland Baptist University (4-1). NCAA D3 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (2-1) arrives in San Antonio on Sept. 9, and the Saints travel to play Concordia University-Texas (7-1) on Sept. 11. OLLU hosts the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma (1-2-2) on Sept. 15 and Oklahoma City University (4-3) two days later.
The quest for a conference title begins in Shreveport, La., against LSUS (7-3-2) on Sept. 22. The Saints head back to Texas to play at TAMUT (5-1) on Sept. 24. LSUA (8-1-1) and defending champions LCU (0-2) head to OLLU for matches on Sept. 29 and Oct. 1. The Saints leave for another road trip, this time facing USW in Hobbs, N.M., (17-4) on Oct. 6 and PQC (7-0) in Dallas on Oct. 8.
The Saints will then host two teams to whom they have never lost. They play TC (13-0) on Oct. 13 and JCU (8-0) on Oct. 15. The last three games are at UHV (14-1-1) in Victoria, Texas, on Oct. 20, versus HTU (11-3) on Oct. 22 and across town against TAMUSA (1-0) on Oct. 29.
Salazar is joined by Assistant Coaches Max Cruz and Brendan Johnson. Cruz joins the Saints after coaching at Western Texas College in Snyder, Texas. Johnson returns to continue working with the goalkeeping squad. OLLU alumna and recent OLLU Hall of Fame Inductee Gaby Lopez also joins the coaching staff this year. Salazar has amassed an impressive 115-43-7 record in his nine seasons at OLLU. He also has a .835 winning percentage in conference matches.
The Saints return seven senior leaders for 2022. The class includes Irania Acosta, Madison Herrera, Sarah Miles, Emily Morin, Riley Perez, Ambree Rheinberger and Jaylin Seto. Seto ranks first all-time in assists with 24 from 2018-2021. Herrera garnered All-Conference First Team honors last year.
OLLU welcomes back four sophomores and nine juniors. Junior Olivia Olivarez-Coil joins the team as a transfer from TAMUSA. Sophomores are Haven Ortiz, Lyndee Rheinberger, Samantha Valadez and Dusty Van Huss. The junior returners are comprised of Samantha Benne, Ijayla Criswell, Rachel Dziuba, Samantha Nava, Abigail Payne, Tess Pitcher, Kyleigh Spree-Kolos, Deanna Tarango and Ez Valles.
Dziuba was nominated to represent the women’s soccer program as a Top Saint for 2022. Spree-Kolos broke the school record for most shots on goal in a single game last season with nine against Howard Payne University. She was also named to the All-Conference Teams in her first two seasons.
Ten freshmen will help guide the Saints this season. Bethany Garr, Sara Garza, Viviana Gutierrez, Liliana Martinez, Kaitlyn Olivas, Ashley Otero, Gabrielle Pace, Savanna Serna, London Suarez and Emerson Weiler join the squad this fall. The group is comprised of eight Texas natives and Serna, who hails from San Diego.
Live-streaming and fan experience
OLLU will live-stream home events, including live commentary on the OLLU Saints Network. Fans will be able to follow live statistics online. The Saints will improve the in-person fan experience for the second consecutive season using the digital scoreboard.