Category Archives: Sports

Stacy Stephens elevated to head coach for women’s basketball

OLLU has elevated Stacy Stephens to head coach for the women’s basketball program after she spent a little less than one year as interim.

Athletic Director Shane Hurley commented, “Stacy has had a prestigious career as a player and was an excellent assistant coach for Christopher Minner. Over the years, Stacy has learned a lot about college athletics and women’s basketball through her own initiative and by working with some highly decorated and experienced coaches. We as a department and institution look forward to seeing the continuation of the fruits of her labor due to drive and initiative.”

In her first year leading the team, the Saints captured the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) regular-season title and finished as runners-up in the conference tournament. She and the women were on their way to Montana for their ninth trip to the NAIA National Championship Tournament but only made it off campus before being called back. The news hit that the NAIA had canceled the championship tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The women finished the season with a 26-6 overall record and 17-1 in conference. Under Stephens’ guidance, the Saints earned NAIA top statistical rankings in scoring offense, scoring margin, turnover margin, field goal percentage, and free-throw percentage.

Two of her players earned NAIA All-American honors including Third-Team selectee Kasey Saldana and Honorable Mention winner Dezeree White. Both also received All-Conference First-Team recognition, and White was selected as RRAC Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, Jamia Miller and Lena Wilson received Second-Team honors, while Keviona Barber was named to the Honorable Mention Team and Tiffany Lopez received Champions of Character recognition. Earlier in the season, White was named NAIA Player of the Week, and RRAC Coach of the Year Stephens was singled out as Head Coach of the Week by HoopDirt.Com. Wilson scored her 1,000th-point under Stephens, while Saldana earned that feat last year. This year, Saldana became the top-scoring female basketball player at OLLU and second overall among both men and women.

“I’m really happy to continue working within the OLLU Athletic Department,” Stephens said. “I thank Dr. Diane Melby, Dr. Lourdes Alvarez, Shane Hurley and the rest of the hiring committee for their faith in me as a coach.

“I am very proud of the student-athletes I have had a chance to coach so far, and we will continue to work hard for the future success of the program.”

Stephens joined the coaching staff at OLLU in July 2017 as an assistant coach. Before OLLU, she had a three-year stint as an assistant coach at NCAA DI Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. Additionally, she held the title of special assistant to the women’s basketball team at the University of Texas at Austin (UT). Her position with the Longhorns came after an illustrious collegiate career in the burnt orange and white jersey.

For the Longhorns, Stephens was a two-time Associated Press Second Team All-American and a finalist for the State Farm Wade Trophy – given to the best women’s basketball player in NCAA DI competition – and the Naismith Award – given to the top women’s collegiate basketball players – during her junior and senior years. She was a two-time Big 12 first-team player.

The Longhorns’ team with Stephens earned a 2003 NCAA Final Four berth and two regular-season and one tournament championship in the Big 12 Conference. She concluded her collegiate career tallying more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. She averaged 12.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game while suiting up for the Texas Longhorns from 2000-2004.

Stephens was a third-round draft pick for the Houston Comets of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) in 2004, and she spent four years playing professionally in the United States, Portugal, Sweden and Turkey.

Prior to her coaching position at UT, Stephens was assistant coach at NAIA/Red River Athletic Conference’s (RRAC) Texas College and director of basketball operations at Colorado State University.

In 2017, Stephens was inducted into the University of Texas Athletics Women’s Hall of Honor. She will also be honored with the induction into the 2020 Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame for her excellent high-school career at Winnsboro High School.

Stephens received a Bachelor of Science from UT and earned a Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from Sam Houston State University.

Stephens now officially heads one of the best NAIA women’s basketball programs in the country. In 2018-2019, the Saints etched their names in the record books by becoming the first team at OLLU to reach the “Fab Four” during the NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship. The Saints have made 10 trips to the conference tournament and have captured two tournament titles. Additionally, the team made an appearance at the national championship tournament nine seasons in a row. The women’s basketball team has also been ranked the past nine seasons in the NAIA Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top 25 Poll.

Saints fans are encouraged to come out to Mabee Gymnasium this season to watch the women’s basketball team’s exciting and fast-paced style. The team’s 2020-21 schedule will be released at a later date. To stay up-to-date on all things OLLU women’s basketball, fans can visit http://www.ollusaintsathletics.com/sport/0/12.php.

2019 cross-country season overview

The OLLU men’s and women’s cross-country teams each captured their fifth Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) title. Both earned automatic bids to the NAIA National Cross-Country National Championship Meet at Vancouver, Wash.

See overall cross-country record books here.

Selected to the RRAC All-Conference Team, all of whom were top 10 finishers were: Lindsey Broussard, Robbie Sue Espericueta, Sabrina Garcia, Andrea Gandara, Peyton Lammons, Christopher Marcus, Isaac Martinez, Andrew Moczygemba, Hector Puente, Nathaniel Rodriguez, Miguel Segura, Nadia Sifuentes, Alyssa Vidales, Kimber Watson, and Jose Zarate. Stephen Sherman received RRAC Coach of the Year honors for both the men’s and women’s teams.

Rodriguez captured the individual medal after marking a 27:16.3 time in the 8k. Broussard won the individual medal for the women’s 5k with a time of 20:44.5, narrowly besting teammate Nadia Sifuentes, who had a 20:52.0 time. The conference meet was hosted by OLLU at the Windcrest Golf Club in Windcrest, Texas.

During the season, Garcia and Moczygemba received Runner of the Week honors. Rodriguez and Sifuentes each won two weekly honors.  

Both men and women received No. 1 ratings for the conference all six weeks.

The teams participated in six meets throughout the season. They opened 2019 at the UIW Opener, with a limited squad on Aug. 30. The Saints hosted the next two meets – the Saints Collegiate Invite on Sept. 21 and the OLLU Cross-Country Invite on Oct. 5. The women and men placed fourth out of 11 teams in the Saints Collegiate event. They both won the OLLU Cross-Country meet. At the Mid-States Classic, the women came in eighth place out of 19 teams, and the men finished in ninth out of 20 teams. After the conference meet on Nov. 8, the teams headed out to Vancouver, Wash., for the NAIA National Championship Meet on Nov. 22. Both teams came in 36th place.

Monzon and Salazar selected as Character Athletes of the Week

As part of the Red River Athletic Conference’s (RRAC) commitment to the NAIA Champions of Character program, the conference recognizes student-athletes from member schools that have exhibited a high level of scholarship, sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and community service. Two student-athletes are selected each week as RRAC Character Athletes of the Week based on their character and commitment to their schools and communities. Softball’s Kaitlyn Salazar and and Men’s Basketball’s Ruben Monzon are the third duo to be recognized for the 2019-2020 academic year.

RRAC Character Athletes of the Week

Kaitlyn Salazar, Our Lady of the Lake University
Sport:
 Softball
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: San Antonio
Major: Kinesiology
GPA: 3.52
Champions of Character Qualities/Activities:

  • Appointed to head up the Community Service Committee to coordinate team activities in the area
  • Took charge of team gatherings and meals during special team-building sessions before the season started
  • Planned all home game honorees, scheduling different dignitaries to throw out the first pitch before each home game
  • Tapped local firefighters, law enforcement representatives, other first-responders, cancer survivors and youth groups
  • Organized many more community outings, but they were canceled in the wake of COVID-19
  • Earned RRAC scholar-athlete recognition

Future Plans: Kaitlyn plans to use her degree to become a physical therapist.

Coach’s Perspective: (OLLU Softball Coach Bruce Lenington) “We are truly lucky to have Kaitlyn on our squad. She has provided a great service to our team by planning our community projects, plus she is a valuable part of our team on the field.”


Ruben Monzon, Our Lady of the Lake University
Sport:
 Basketball
Year: Sophomore
Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
Major: Cyber Security
GPA: 3.75
Champions of Character Qualities/Activities:

  • Frequent volunteer with the Baseball Embassy’s Youth Ambassador Program, which serves homeless and underprivileged youth
  • Earned RRAC Scholar-Athlete recognition
  • Helped with several campus initiatives including cleaning up after homecoming events and taking Christmas decorations down
  • Tutors teammates on a variety of subjects putting into practice his success as having one of our highest student-athlete GPAs
  • Named to the OLLU Dean’s List

Future Plans: After graduating, Ruben is interested in extending his playing career, perhaps in Europe. He also plans to earn a master’s degree and to consider a career in computer programming.

Administrator’s Perspective: (Our Lady of the Lake Basketball Coach Chris Dial) “Ruben has been a great addition to our squad. His leadership on the court is invaluable, and his willingness to take charge of the team off the court has been greatly appreciated.”

Crystal Brock is OLLU’s inaugural cheer / dance head coach

OLLU’s athletic department is proud to announce the hiring of Crystal Brock as head coach for the competitive coed cheer and dance teams that are scheduled to begin their inaugural season in fall 2020.

Athletic Director Shane Hurley commented, “We are glad Crystal is already on board to begin forming our inaugural teams. She is a highly qualified individual who has had a lot of success throughout her career. I have every confidence that she will build our teams into a program of which the OLLU community can be proud.”

Brock is a native of Cedar Park, Texas, and she is expected to graduate with her Doctorate of Leadership Studies from OLLU in May 2022. She received her Master of Education in Educational Leadership/Administration from Concordia University – Austin and her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Texas State University.

Since 2015, Brock has been the Fine Arts Dance Teacher, Dance Team Director and Communications Applications Educator at Brennan High School in the Northside Independent School District of San Antonio.

Brock said, “I want to guide these athletes as they use their spirit to tell their stories and be the light for their future successes. We all have a purpose and a calling; there is no doubt the OLLU Spirit Program is mine. I look forward to working with OLLU athletics and the university in paving a new tradition of athletes.”

Prior to Brennan, Brock directed the dance, cheer and pep squad teams at West Campus/South San Antonio High School. She also taught at the Elite Dance Company in San Antonio and Northwest Montessori School in Austin, Texas.

Brock is a member of the Texas Dance Educators Association and has been part of the Dance/Drill Team Directors of America, Inc. She is certified as a Five-Star Cheerleading Coach from the Universal Cheerleading Association.

In addition, Brock has extensive experience in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, high-kick, contemporary, modern, lyrical, open, novelty, field and African dance, as well as stunting, tumbling, jumps, muscle building and conditioning. She has choreographed, produced and directed performances for a variety of professional groups, school events and community programs. She has trained with the Austin Ballet Company and the Broadway Dance Center in New York.

Brock has also received numerous awards and recognition as part of her high school and college squads.

OLLU will become the only university in San Antonio and South Texas with competitive cheer and dance programs in the NAIA. Currently, out of the 251 NAIA institutions, 77 are sponsoring coed competitive cheer and dance. Other Texas NAIA schools with these programs include Texas Wesleyan University (Fort Worth) and Wayland Baptist University (Plainview).

Athletes interested in trying out for the OLLU cheer and dance teams can read about specific NAIA eligibility requirements online. Student-athletes can fill out a recruiting form here.

Volleyball 2019 season overview

The volleyball team finished out its 2019 season with a 19-7 overall record and 8-4 record in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). In the Saints’ 13th season, they earned the No. 3 seed in the RRAC Championships and fell to Huston-Tillotson University 2-3 (19-25, 25-20, 22-25, 25-16, 11-15).

See overall record books here.

Sadie Ballesteros, Kalani Ketchens, Alyssa Marquez, Anyssa Rivera and Anissa Tamez earned All-Conference First-Team recognition, while Natalie Fazio was named to the Second-Team and Tijana Kruta received Honorable Mention honors. The Champions of Character winner was Rivera, while Marquez and Tamez were named to the All-Tournament Team. Ketchens received Newcomer of the Year recognition.

During the season, Tamez earned Setter of the Week five times, while Bailei Hubbard, Kruta, Ballesteros, and Faz received Attacker of the Week awards. Marquez was named Defender of the Week three times.

The women swept their opponents 11 times and lost one set seven times. The Saints played five sets four times and lost three of those. The team was only swept twice, while they lost three sets just twice.

Individual leaders include Kruta, who logged a .366 hitting percentage; Fazio with 245 kills; Tamez with 747 assists; Fazio with 44 aces; Kruta with 32 total blocks; Marquez with 470 digs; and Marquez with 31 receptions.

OLLU announces resignation of Coach Sherman

OLLU announced the resignation of Stephen Sherman, Assistant Athletic Director and head coach for cross-country and track and field. Sherman will be transitioning to associate athletic director at Texas A&M University-San Antonio (TAMUSA), which is an NAIA school that will begin its season in 2020-2021.

Athletic Director Shane Hurley commented, “We are grateful for Sherman’s years of service and for his dedication to our student-athletes. He developed our cross-country and track and field teams from their inaugural season through this year, and we know we will have big shoes to fill. We wish him much success at TAMUSA – we know he will quickly become a valuable asset there, just as he was here.”

Sherman has been the only head coach for the OLLU men’s and women’s cross-country teams and the men’s and women’s track and field teams. His cross-country teams began competing in 2009, and his track and field teams began their official season in 2015.

OLLU Senior Spotlight: Aundrea Culliver

Aundrea Culliver put together an impressive indoor track and field season for her senior year. She competed in the OCU Invitational in Oklahoma to begin the indoor track season. She finished 10th in the 60m preliminaries with a time of 8.18. She also competed in the triple jump and took fourth place with a mark of 10.79m.

Culliver broke an OLLU indoor record in the triple jump at the Fas-Trak in Houston in January. She also helped break a 4×400 meter relay record in indoors as the Saints finished fourth with a time of 4:06.68. Culliver finished first in the triple jump with an 11.14m result at the Texas Tech Matador Qualifier.  

Culliver was named to the Red River Athletic Conference All-Conference team each of the past three seasons for the 400m. Academically, she has made has earned RRAC Scholar-Athlete recognition.

Culliver commented, “Everything happens for a reason. Nevertheless, I trust in God’s plan. I am beyond grateful and thankful for my parents, coaches, faculty and teammates who have been amazingly supportive.”

Three golfers named all-conference

Even though the Association of Independent Institutions (A.I.I.)  couldn’t award a men’s golf team champion this spring, league officials wanted to recognize players for their excellent spring performances – awarding all-conference and Champions of Character team honors.

All recognized players earned all-conference awards. The A.I.I. did not present any special awards, such as player of the year and coach of the year. Selected from Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) were Diego Garcia and Kane Ybarra, while Raul Gutierrez was selected to the Champions of Character team.

OLLU Senior Spotlight: Patience Okpe

Patience Okpe is a multisport athlete at the OLLU. She played for the women’s basketball team in 2018-2019 and participated in track and field last year, as well as this season before it was cut short.

In the 2018-2019 basketball season, Okpe ranked 14th in the NAIA with 76 total steals and 16th with 145 assists. She scored 22 points against No. 10-ranked Oklahoma City University (OCU) to lead the Saints to an 89-81 victory. During the NAIA National Championship Tournament, Okpe scored 22 points against Campbellsville University (CU) in the round of eight. The Saints won 94-88 and would eventually lose to OCU in the semifinals.

In basketball last season, Okpe was named to both the NAIA National Championships All-Tournament Team and the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Championships Tournament All-Tournament Team. She also earned All-Conference Second Team.

Okpe competed in the RRAC Championships for track and field in April of 2019. The Saints finished in second place, and she competed in two events. Okpe finished in 11th place in the 100m with a time of 13.44 and took ninth place in the 400m at 1:05.07. She was able to participate in the Trinity Invitational this March before the season ended prematurely. Okpe competed in the javelin throw and recorded a distance of 28.16m for 10th place.

Men’s soccer 2019 season overview

The men’s soccer team finished out its 2019 season with an 11-6-2 overall record and 6-2-1 record in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). In the Saints’ 13th season, they earned the No. 3 seed in the RRAC Championships and fell to LSU-Shreveport 0-3. See overall record books here.

Luan Balestieri, Charbel Elbayeh, Patrick Pye and Miguel Sanchez earned All-Conference Second-Team honors, while Gustavo Borba was an Honorable Mention selection and Raul Posadas was the Champions of Character winner. Bernard Alvarenga and Norberto Lira and received All-Tournament recognition.

During the season, Mitchell Medrano received RRAC Offensive Player of the Week selection after he netted three goals in a 2-0 week for the Saints. The junior forward provided the difference with a goal as OLLU edged Jarvis Christian College, 3-2, and he tacked on a pair of goals in a 4-1 victory over Texas College.

The men played in four overtime games. On Sept. 4, the Saints defeated the University of St. Thomas 2-1. On Sept. 9, the Saints and Wayland Baptist University tied 0-0 after two overtime periods. Later in the month on Sept. 26, the Saints defeated Texas A&M University at Texarkana 3-2. Their final overtime game was on Oct. 17. Once again, the Saints tied 0-0 to LSU-Alexandria after two overtime periods.

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