Tag Archives: Red River Athletic Conference

Hurley named Red River Athletic Conference Athletic Director of Year

As the leader of the most active and the most successful athletic department in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC), Shane Hurley has plenty on his plate. That was never more true than this year when OLLU athletics grew to 17 intercollegiate sports, seven Saints teams made national tournament appearances, and the school won its eighth RRAC All-Sports Award. 

Hurley’s efforts were recognized by his peers, who selected him as the 2021-2022 RRAC Athletic Director of the Year. 

The RRAC Athletic Director of the Year award recognizes the leader who had the best year in overall program performance, facility development, game administration, NAIA Champions of Character commitment, ability to hire and keep quality coaches, program growth in sports and revenue opportunities, contributions at the conference and national levels and student-athlete development. The award is decided through a vote by all RRAC athletic directors. 

In addition to the normal day-to-day challenges of managing the athletic program, Hurley and his staff hosted RRAC championships in men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball, men’s and women’s track and field and softball during the last year. They also were faced with the loss of a close friend and longtime Saints broadcaster, Michael Thompson, near the end of the basketball season.  

Through it all, Hurley was the capable leader of all things OLLU.

“Shane has done a great job keeping OLLU at the top of the conference,” says LSU Shreveport Athletic Director Lucas Morgan. “They are competitive in every sport while also doing things the right way. He is a committed leader and very deserving of this recognition.” 

Hurley is a true blue Saint. He has been at OLLU since the school joined the NAIA in 2007, first serving as the men’s soccer coach and then doubling up as the women’s soccer coach from 2008-to 2012. In 2018, he was called on to serve as the interim athletic director, stepping into the official role in 2019 and shedding his soccer duties to focus solely on the athletic director role in 2020. 

“I’m proud to extend congratulations to Shane Hurley,” says RRAC Commissioner Tony Stigliano. “This award recognizes his hard work and commitment to OLLU, the RRAC, and our other athletic directors. We’re fortunate to have leaders like Shane in our conference.”

Taking over a program that was already a perennial conference power, Hurley has added to that excellence. In addition to the All-Sports Awards, OLLU also was recognized as last year’s RRAC GPA Award winner with the best academic results in the conference. He also spearheaded four new sports, thoroughly researching the feasibility of adding women’s golf, women’s tennis, competitive cheer and competitive dance by consulting with local, state and national universities with similar programs. He put together a comprehensive report to include demographics, geographical competition, interest from recruiting areas, plus a practicable budget that would allow the university to approve the plan.

After much deliberation, the university’s Board of Trustees approved Hurley’s plan to increase the intercollegiate program from 13 to 17 teams, adding competitive cheer, competitive dance, women’s golf and women’s tennis.

With the establishment of the four teams, Hurley aggressively pursued hiring head and assistant coaches for all four teams. The new coaches were able to search for viable student-athletes – academically and athletically qualified – to recruit for their programs. All coaches have been able to put together teams that would be competitive immediately.

His projections rang true. After just one season, the women’s golf team excelled beyond expectations, winning two tournaments and successfully competing throughout the year. The dance team also excelled and made history with a second-place finish at nationals, and the women’s tennis team qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2014. OLLU now boasts more than 400 student-athletes. 

OLLU claims eighth Red River Athletic Conference All-Sports Award

With the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) resuming a normal schedule this year, OLLU also returned to the top of the mountain in the race for the 2021-2022 RRAC All-Sports Award. The Saints’ athletic program claimed the award for the eighth time in nine years, missing out only on last year’s trophy in a run that stretches back to 2013-2014. 

“We are all extremely excited and proud of the accomplishments of our department and teams,” says OLLU Athletic Director Shane Hurley. “Returning the conference’s All-Sports Award to OLLU is a wonderful measure of everyone’s efforts, and we will continue to strive for success in competition and in the classroom as we represent OLLU and the RRAC!”

The All-Sports Award is given annually to the RRAC athletic program that performs best across the conference’s sports in a given academic year. Points are awarded to the top five teams in regular-season conference standings using a 10-8-6-4-2 scoring system, while results in conference tournaments and championship events merit additional points on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis. In sports such as tennis, track and field, golf and cross country, postseason team finishes are awarded regular season and postseason points. A sport must have at least four schools participating and competing in an RRAC tournament to qualify for inclusion in point calculations. 

OLLU edged out the Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) for the title while winning four championships. The Saints had their best year ever in softball, winning that regular-season title in that sport and women’s basketball. They also repeated as men’s and women’s cross country champions and won the RRAC women’s basketball tournament. OLLU teams scored points in 11 sports and finished second in men’s soccer, golf and volleyball.

Men’s basketball defeats Southwest in overtime for first conference victory

Hear from Head Coach Chris Dial and watch highlights.

The men’s basketball team earned its first Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) win of the season with a 105-98 overtime victory versus the University of the Southwest (USW). The Saints improve to 6-9 overall and 1-4 in the RRAC. The Mustangs fall to 6-8 overall and 2-2 in conference play.


The Saints were 18-6 against USW in the all-time series prior to the game today.


The first half was very competitive on both sides. The Saints held a slight lead until five minutes remaining when Southwest battled back for a five-point advantage. OLLU responded and tied the game 45-45 just before halftime with a tip-in by Cedric Cook (FR/Houston, Texas). The Saints shot 51.7 percent from the field backed by 14 points from Ruben Monzon (SR/San Diego, Calif.). The Mustangs also shot well from the field at 50 percent. Both teams shot 12-of-14 from the free-throw line.

There were multiple lead changes in the second half and the last two minutes were intense. The Saints led by six points with less than a minute remaining. Pearce Mack made a layup for the Mustangs, but Oscar Maldonado (JR/Greeley, Colo.) made two free throws after USW was forced to foul. The Saints’ six-point lead was quickly diminished to three with a three-point shot from Khaire Williams with 13 seconds left. Williams hit another three-point bucket with less than 10 seconds to send the game to overtime.

The Saints used the Mustangs’ comeback to fuel an impressive overtime frame. OLLU jumped out to a six-point advantage with just more than one minute left. The Mustangs were forced to foul and the Saints stayed disciplined at the free-throw line to close out a 105-98 victory.

Offensive/defensive standouts

Monzon led the Saints with 29 points, followed by Joseph Anderson (SR/Houston, Texas) with 15. Jordan Embry (SR/Paris, Texas) grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds and added 13 points to earn a double-double. Anderson also led the team with four assists.

USW was led by Tae Brown with 20 points. Brown also led the Mustangs with eight rebounds. Latarryus Smith contributed a team-high three assists.

Inside the box

OLLU combined for 34-of-75 shooting for 45.3 percent, 5-of-20 from three-point range for 25 percent and 32-of-42 from the free-throw line for 76.2 percent.

USW combined for 37-of-71 from the field for 52.1 percent, 9-of-23 three-pointers for 39.1 percent and 15-of-20 from the charity stripe for 75 percent.

The Saints grabbed 41 rebounds while the Mustangs gathered 43. OLLU forced 22 turnovers and committed 13.

Up next

The Saints face Jarvis Christian College at home on Jan. 22 at 4 p.m.

Women’s basketball wins fifth straight conference game

Hear from Head Coach Jillian Flores Bennett and watch highlights:

The women’s basketball team continued excellent play in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) with an 83-56 win against the University of the Southwest (USW) on Saturday. The Saints jump to 8-10 overall and stay undefeated in the RRAC at 5-0. The Mustangs fall to 2-13 overall and 1-3 in the conference.  


The Saints were 22-1 against the Mustangs prior to this game.


The Saints opened the game by playing one of their best quarters all season. They scored 25 points and limited the Mustangs to only eight. Keviona Barber (SR/Chicago, Ill.) had seven points in the frame and Emiko Hemphill (SR/San Antonio, Texas) added six. OLLU didn’t allow a three-point bucket from USW and shot 68.8 percent from the field. The Saints continued to shoot well in the second quarter and led 47-19 at halftime.

Despite starting the third quarter with a large deficit, the Mustangs scored 28 points behind a solid 85.7 percent shooting from the field. The Saints’ lead was cut to 62-47 heading into the final quarter. OLLU finished strong by allowing only eight points by the Mustangs in the fourth quarter. Four Saints players finished with double-digit scoring to lead the Saints to their fifth straight conference victory.

Offensive/defensive standouts

Barber led the Saints with 22 points. Makayla White (JR/Midwest City, Okla.) had a team-high 11 rebounds and added 12 points for a double-double. Barber recorded five assists for OLLU.

USW was led by Kenedi Tanks with 18 points. Tiayana Williams had a team-high seven rebounds. Williams also led the Mustangs with three assists.

Inside the box

OLLU combined for 34-of-64 shooting for 53.1 percent, 6-of-21 from three-point range for 28.6 percent and 9-of-13 from the free-throw line for 69.2 percent. USW shot 22-of-48 for 45.8 percent, 3-of-14 three-pointers for 21.4 percent and 9-of-13 from the free-throw line for 69.2 percent.

The Saints grabbed 33 rebounds while the Mustangs collected 28. OLLU forced 24 turnovers and committed 11.

Up next

The Saints host Jarvis Christian College on Jan. 22 at 2 p.m.

Women’s basketball picked second in Red River Athletic Conference preseason poll

OLLU has been picked second in the Red River Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Preseason Poll released today. The Saints have won seven of the last nine regular-season titles. Last year, they opted out of conference play due to COVID-19 concerns, and this year, every RRAC member is back in action.

Two teams joined the conference this season, including Xavier University of Louisiana, which has also been picked second in the conference poll. The other conference newcomer is Louisiana College.

LSU Shreveport is the top choice after receiving nine first-place votes.

Voting was conducted by the head coaches at the conference. Results of the poll are shown below, with points calculated through a 12-11-10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 format. First-place votes are shown in parentheses.

1. LSU Shreveport (9)140
2. Our Lady of the Lake105
 Xavier  (1)105
4. Texas A&M-Texarkana91
5.Paul Quinn84
6. LSU Alexandria80
9.Texas College (1)56
10.Louisiana College48
11.Jarvis Christian (1)47

The Saints begin the 2021-2022 campaign on Oct. 29 at Oklahoma City University. The team is under the leadership of new Head Coach Jillian Flores and returning Assistant Coach Tommy Turgeon.

Keelin Garrity wins conference defensive player of the week

Keelin Garrity (SR/West Hartford, Conn.) was selected as the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Men’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week for Sept. 20-26. This is the fifth set of conference awards for the 2021 men’s soccer season. Garrity led the Saints to two shutouts last week. The senior goalkeeper from West Hartford, Conn., kept LSU Shreveport under control in a 1-0 victory, and he had three saves in a 4-0 blanking of Texas A&M University-Texarkana. OLLU opened the conference season at 2-0 and evened its record at 3-3 overall. 

Haller and Strzelczyk earn volleyball conference awards

Cassidy Haller earned recognition as the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Volleyball Attacker of the Week for Sept. 20-26. Madelynn Strzelczyk added her fourth RRAC Setter of the Week award for the same dates. This is the fifth set of weekly awards for the 2021 RRAC volleyball season.

Haller averaged 3.2 kills per set in a 2-1 week for the Saints. The sophomore right side from Cibolo, Texas, hit 13 kills in a 3-0 win over Louisiana College, and she added 10 in a 3-1 loss to Trinity University. Haller posted a .464 hitting percentage and added nine digs. OLLU moved to 4-0 in conference play and 9-3 on the season. 

Strzelczyk delivered big for the Saints again with 9.8 assists per set in two of OLLU’s matches. The sophomore setter from Marion, Texas, compiled 69 assists, including 44 in the losing effort against Trinity. Strzelczyk is ranked 16th nationally with 10.3 assists per set.

OLLU’S Ballesteros and Strzelczyk earn conference volleyball player of the week awards

Sadie Ballesteros was selected as the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Volleyball Attacker of the Week for Sept. 13-19. Madelynn Strzelczyk collected the RRAC Setter of the Week honor for the same dates. This is the fourth set of weekly awards for the 2021 RRAC volleyball season.

Ballesteros posted a .388 hitting percentage in a 3-0 week for the Saints. The junior outside hitter from Atascosa, Texas, had totals of 11 kills in a 3-2 win over Texas Lutheran University (TLU) and nine in a sweep of Wiley College. Ballesteros averaged 2.4 kills per set for the week and chipped in eight digs. She is 14th nationally with a .360 hitting percentage. OLLU opened conference play at 2-0 and improved to 7-2 on the season. 

Strzelczyk earned her third award of the season with 105 assists for the Saints. The sophomore setter from Marion, Texas, reached 51 assists against TLU and 34 against Wiley. Strzelczyk averaged 10.5 assists per set for the week. She is currently 15th in the NAIA with 10.4 assists per set.

OLLU’S Sifuentes and Sanchez sweep conference awards

Nadia Sifuentes of  was named Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for Sept. 13-19, while Julio Sanchez was recognized as the RRAC Men’s Runner of the Week for the same dates. This is the third set of cross-country awards for the 2021 season. 

Sifuentes led the majority of the race and placed fourth in a field of 65 runners at the Westside Classic in San Antonio. The junior from Brownsville, Texas, posted a time of 24:23 in the 6K distance against competitors from NCAA Division I, II and III. 

Sanchez reached 16th place on the men’s side at the Westside Classic, his first collegiate event. The freshman from Philadelphia, Pa., completed the 8K course in a time of 28:13 against 70 runners. 

Madison Herrera named conference defensive player of the week

Madison Herrera (JR/Helotes, Texas) of Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) earned recognition as the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Women’s Soccer Defensive Player of the Week for Aug. 30-Sept. 5. This is the second set of conference awards for the 2021 women’s soccer season.

Herrera guided the Saints’ defense as OLLU won a pair of matches against NCAA Division III programs. The junior defender from Helotes, Texas, helped limit opponents to only two shots on goal as the Saints triumphed over Schreiner University, 5-1, and Concordia University-Texas, 4-0. OLLU jumped to 2-1 overall.

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