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Five Saints selected to Women’s Soccer 2022 Red River Athletic Conference All-Conference Team

The Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) announced the 2022 RRAC Women’s Soccer All-Conference Team. Postseason award winners were voted by the conference’s head coaches.

Named to the All-Conference First Team is Deanna Tarango. She was part of the First-Team in 2020.

Madison Herrera has been named to the Second Team. In 2019, she received Honorable Mention honors and in 2020 and 2021, she was named to the First Team.

Receiving Honorable Mention are Kyleigh Spree-Kolos and Rachel Dziuba. Spree-Kolos was part of the Second-Team in 2020 and the Honorable-Mention Team last year. Dziuba is also the team’s Champions of Character selectee.

Kaitlyn Olivas is selected to the All-Freshman Team.

Women’s soccer advances to RRAC semifinals after defeating Louisiana Christian

Fueled by two goals from Kaitlyn Olivas and an outstanding defensive performance, the women’s soccer team will advance to the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Championships Semifinals match. The Saints outmatched the Wildcats of Louisiana Christian University (LCU) to win 2-0 in the quarterfinals this afternoon.

The Saints – the No. 4 seed – will now face the No. 1 seed Texas A&M University-Texarkana (TAMUT) on Thursday at 11 a.m. in Texarkana, Texas. The winner of the semifinals match will play winner of the other semifinals match between No. 2 University of Houston-Victoria or No. 3 LSU-Alexandria on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m.

The Saints are now 8-3-7, while LCU ends its season at 8-5-2.

The Saints had previously lost two matches to the Wildcats. Last season, they lost in the regular season 2-0 and in the postseason 2-0.

The Saints wasted little time getting on the board. After a corner kick from Ez Calles, Kaitlyn Olivas scored to put the team ahead 1-0 at the 10th minute.

The game stayed at 1-0 through the second half when Olivas found the net on an assist from Deanna Tarango at the 57th minute.

The rest of the match was a defensive battle that kept either team from scoring.

Inside the box score
Irania Acosta and Olivas led the Saints offense with two shots each, with Olivas adding two shots on goal. Riley Perez, Lyndee Rheinberger, Tarrango and Bethany Garr each had one shot.

Three Wildcats added one shot each, with Kaura Magleau recording on shot on goal.

Overall the Saints marked eight shots, five on goal, while LCU had three shots, one on goal.

OLLU had six corner kicks while the Wildcats had none.

Tess Pitcher had one save and earned the win for the Saints.

Women’s soccer and Jarvis end in a scoreless tie

The women’s soccer team and Jarvis Christian University were scoreless in a Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) matchup on Saturday. The Saints move to 6-3-5 and 4-1-3 in conference, while the Bulldogs move to 5-7-1 overall and 2-4-1 in conference.

The Saints are one and a half games behind league-leader Texas A&M University – Texarkana and in third place. Jarvis is in ninth place, four games behind the leader.

The Saints are 8-0-1 against the Bulldogs.

The Saints took eight shots in the first half, three on goal, and allowed just one by the Bulldogs, but they could not get the ball into the net.

The second half featured more chances for the Saints as they added 12 shots on goal for a total of 14. OLLU allowed no shots for Jarvis.

Inside the box score
Kyleigh Spree-Kolos led the Saints with six shots, three on goal. Kaitlyn Olivas added five shots, all on goal. The only shot from Jarvis was from Mitzy Guereca.

Overall, the Saints totaled 22 shots, 15 on goal.

OLLU recorded four corner kicks.

Tess Pitcher earned the win for the Saints.

What’s next
The Saints travel to Victoria, Texas, for a conference match against the University of Houston-Victoria on Oct. 20.

Women’s soccer strong offense downs LCU 3-1

The women’s soccer team used a strong second half to defeat Louisiana Christian University (LCU) 3-1 on Saturday. The Saints improve to 4-2-4 overall and 2-0-2 in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). The Wildcats drop to 4-3 overall and 2-2 in conference.

The Saints were 0-2 against the Wildcats prior to the match.

The Saints outshot the Wildcats in the first half but ended up allowing a goal at the 22nd minute. Aubrey Joslin tallied a goal to help give LCU the advantage. The Saints forced the Wildcats to make five saves in the first frame. OLLU came out strong in the second half following a 1-0 halftime deficit. They put pressure on the Wildcats for most of the half and were rewarded. Riley Perez scored with an assist from Irania Acosta in the 77th minute to tie the match. Kaitlyn Olivas sent a ball over the goalkeeper’s head less than one minute later to give the Saints the upper hand. Olivas tallied another goal just five minutes later with a feed from Madison Herrera. The Saints won 3-1 to remain undefeated in conference play. Tess Pitcher totaled four saves in net for the Saints.

Scoring overview
22′ – LCU – Aubrey Joslin

77′ – OLLU – Riley Perez (assisted by Irania Acosta)

78′ – OLLU – Kaitlyn Olivas

84′ – OLLU – Kaitlyn Olivas (assisted by Madison Herrera)

Inside the box score
Olivas led the Saints with four shots on goal. Laura Magleau and Lindsey Jacobs had two shots on goal each for the Wildcats.

Overall, the Saints tallied 12 shots, with 11 on goal. LCU marked eight shots with five on goal.

OLLU recorded three corner kicks and the Wildcats took two.

What’s next
The Saints head west to face University of the Southwest on Oct. 6 at 2 p.m. Central Time.

Women’s soccer ends in tie versus TAMUT

The women’s soccer team tied against Texas A&M University-Texarkana (TAMUT) 1-1 on Sept. 24. The Saints move to 2-2-4 overall and 0-0-2 in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC). The Eagles are now 6-1-1 overall and 1-0-1 in conference.

Head Coach Arthur Salazar commented, “This was a hard-fought game against a dynamic attacking group. I was pleased with their effort, but we still have a lot to do in the attacking third.”

The Saints were 6-1 against the Eagles prior to the match.

The Saints finished in a tie for the third match in a row. The first half was scoreless but there was plenty of offensive pressure. The Saints took seven shots while the Eagles totaled 10. Tess Pitcher made seven saves for OLLU in the first frame.

Chayce Walker put the Eagles ahead in the 63rd minute with an assist from Aubrey Oller. The Saints wasted no time to even the match with a goal from Kyleigh Spree-Kolos just four minutes later. Her fifth goal of the season was assisted by Ez Valles. Both teams had multiple chances toward the end of the contest but couldn’t convert.

Scoring overview
63′ – TAMUT – Chayce Walker (assisted by Aubrey Oller)

67′ – OLLU – Kyleigh Spree-Kolos (assisted by Ez Valles)

Inside the box score

Spree-Kolos led the Saints with three shots on goal. Alyssa Daily had four shots on goal for the Eagles.

Overall, the Saints tallied 10 shots, with eight on goal. Texarkana marked 19 shots with 10 on goal.

OLLU recorded one corner kick and the Eagles took seven.

What’s next
The Saints return home to play LSU-Alexandria on Sept. 29 at 1 p.m.

Women’s soccer late surge leads to draw against OCU

The women’s soccer team ended in a 2-2 tie against the Oklahoma City University (OCU) Stars on Saturday. The Saints move to 2-2-2 on the season while the Stars are now 4-1-1.

The Saints were 4-3 against the Stars prior to the match.

The Saints were outplayed in the first half against OCU. The Stars scored in the 10th and 29th minute to take a 2-0 lead to halftime. OLLU tallied four corner kicks and two shots in the first half. Both goals from the Stars came off deflections from Saints goalkeeper Samantha Valadez.

OLLU came out aggressive after halftime and their play improved. Kaitlyn Olivas scored with an assist from Irania Acosta to cut the Stars lead to only one goal. The Saints offense continue to pressure and was eventually awarded with the tying goal. Ambree Rheinberger scored from far out to continue her impressive season. The game ended in a 2-2 draw and Tess Pitcher made three saves in the second half after taking over for Valadez.

Scoring overview
10′ – OCU – Millie Templeman (assisted by Madi Caputo)

29′ – OCU – April Hill (assisted by Abby Russell)

47′ – OLLU – Kaitlyn Olivas (assisted by Irania Acosta)

82′ – OLLU – Ambree Rheinberger

Inside the box score
Rheinberger and Olivas both had two shots on goal for the Saints. The Stars were led by Millie Templeman and Madi Caputo with two shots on goal each.

Overall, the Saints tallied eight shots, with five on goal. Oklahoma City marked 10 shots with seven on goal.

OLLU recorded five corner kicks and the Stars took six.

What’s next
The Saints start Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) play on Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. at LSU-Shreveport.

Women’s soccer drops tough match against UMHB

The women’s soccer team lost to NCAA D3 University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) 3-1 on Friday. The Saints move to 2-1 on the season while the Cru improves to 3-0.

The Saints were 1-1 against the Cru prior to the matchup.

The Saints fell to UMHB in a tough match on Friday. The Cru jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the first 40 minutes. The match was delayed due to weather shortly after the second half started. Following the weather delay, the Saints offense improved, and Ambree Rheinberger converted on a header off a corner kick from Gabrielle Pace. The Saints only tallied six shots while the Cru took 12. Tess Pitcher played all 90 minutes in goal and made seven saves.

Scoring overview
30′ – UMHB – Kelsey White

34′ – UMHB – Kristen Burdick (assisted by Yuliana Cruz)

37′ – UMHB – Abigail Hickman

80′ – OLLU – Ambree Rheinberger (assisted by Gabrielle Pace)

Inside the box score
Three different Saints took one shot on goal. The Cru was led by Kelsey White with five shots on goal.

Overall, the Saints tallied six shots, with three on goal. UMHB marked 12 shots with 10 on goal.

OLLU recorded three corner kicks and the Cru took 10.

What’s next
The Saints head north to face Concordia University-Texas on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Women’s soccer selected to finish second in conference poll

The Saints women’s soccer team finished as runners-up last year in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Championship Tournament after falling to Louisiana Christian University 1-0. The Saints will start the 2022 campaign second in the RRAC Women’s Soccer Preseason Poll. The Wildcats garnered the top spot in the poll.

The Wildcats captured 11-of-12 first-place votes following a season in which they went 12-0-1 in the conference. The Saints received one first-place vote after their 8-2-1 conference season.

The University of the Southwest, the University of Houston-Victoria and Huston-Tillotson University rounded out the top five. Texas A&M University-Texarkana, LSU-Shreveport and LSU-Alexandria are next in the standings, followed by Jarvis Christian University, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, Paul Quinn College and Texas College.

Women’s Soccer lands seventh team academic award  

The Saints women’s soccer team has been recognized for the seventh consecutive time with a United Soccer Coaches College Team Academic Award. The team with an overall GPA of 3.51 were recognized for their exemplary performance in the classroom during the 2021-2022 academic year.  

United Soccer Coaches annually celebrates the academic achievements of teams whose student-athletes collectively demonstrate a commitment to excellence in their studies over the course of a full academic year. 

Liliana Briseno and Rachel Dziuba excel as students, athletes and leaders

Most agree that being a college student is hard work. There is the demanding coursework, plus the independence and the responsibility that all go toward success beyond high school.

Some may also agree that playing sports in college is even more challenging. Being a student-athlete means one has to juggle practice schedules, traveling and playing games with attending classes and classwork. Student-athletes at OLLU and most universities must maintain at least a 2.5 GPA to be eligible to play and retain their academic aid and scholarships. Plus, student-athletes who are on scholarships can’t afford to fall behind in their schoolwork.

Two students who are athletes at OLLU have chosen to add a third element to their college experience – the role of a student leader.

Liliana Briseno, who finished out her four years on the soccer team in the fall, is a First-Year Connections Executive Leader. She has been involved with the Student Leadership and Development (SLD) sector at OLLU since February 2020.

Completing her second year on the soccer team in the fall, Rachel Dziuba is the Student Government Association (SGA) president. She has been part of SGA since the fall of her freshmen year as the Director of Records and Finance and then as the Vice President.

Both student-leadership positions for Briseno and Dziuba are paid. They work up to 14 hours a week during the school year and up to 25 hours during summer.

Briseno’s duties with First-Year Connections include introducing and connecting students to campus resources and services, developing a sense of belonging among the university community, providing experiential learning opportunities to support the holistic development and transition to college life and acting as a supportive resource aiding OLLU’s strategic plans for recruitment and retention.

Dziuba mainly focuses on being a voice for the student body, providing an avenue for students to get involved through student organizations. She does this through attending meetings as the SGA representative and working with her team to plan events, e.g., town halls and Club Rush. She also attends the Board of Trustees meetings as the students’ representative.

She says that she was looking for an on-campus job. Dziuba said, “There was an opening in SGA. I really enjoyed the people in the office, and I was glad for the opportunity to represent students, especially during the pandemic.”

Briseno had an off-campus job for a while, but she realized that her work schedule was not working for her, so she started to look for an on-campus position. “That’s when I received an email about SLD hiring. I went to an informational where I spoke with the SLD assistant coordinator, and soon after that, I applied for the position.” Her skills in talking to people were vital, and she “didn’t mind putting myself out there when the situation called for it; it felt like this position would encompass all of that and more.” At the informational, she felt welcomed and encouraged, and she knew she wanted to be around that kind of environment.

Having excellent time management was a plus for Dziuba, juggling athletics, academics and student leadership. “I try to write everything down that I have to get done to keep track of the meetings, work, and practice hours. It keeps me organized.” She also tries to plan out her schoolwork and spread it out across the week so she doesn’t leave it all to the end of the week. “Additionally, I use practice, games, hanging out with teammates and yoga as stress relievers,” Dziuba said.

For Briseno, it is all about prioritizing different deadlines or agendas depending on what is going on during the week and making sure that she communicates to all parties when any conflict comes up. “It also helps to have had teammates (Dziuba, Tess PitcherKyleigh Spree-Kolos and Olivia Eagleson) work with me because we all can relate to each other,” Briseno explains.

Briseno has been a Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) Scholar-Athlete throughout each year at OLLU. In 2018, she was named to the RRAC All-Tournament team, and in 2018, 2019 and 2021, she was named her team’s Champions of Character representative. Her career stats are as follows: 65 games, one goal, two assists, 28 shots and 21 shots on goal. She currently has a 3.875 GPA.

Head Coach Arthur Salazar said, “Lili has been a great asset, not just to the soccer program but also to our campus community. Her willingness to help others and her work ethic have allowed Lili to succeed while being respected among her peers throughout the OLLU community.”

Dziuba has also received RRAC Scholar-Athlete recognition throughout her time at OLLU. In 2020, she received RRAC All-Tournament honors and was the team’s Champions of Character representative. So far, her career stats are 30 games, 16 shots, and six shots on goal. Dziuba’s GPA is 4.0.

“Rachel has an amazing approach to things,” Salazar commented. “She is always positive and supportive toward others around her, and she is willing to make the sacrifices necessary to be successful on and off the soccer field. Rachel has been a fantastic representative of the soccer program and OLLU community.” 

Briseno’s biggest challenge has been accepting that sometimes she won’t always have everything figured out and that that is okay. Through her experiences, she has built many relationships with so many different people. “Building a web of relationships between athletics, academia, and the SLD office has made me feel like I truly belong; I am grateful to have the support system that I do.”

Dziuba said she has to remind herself that everything will pass in terms of an injury or a time with many significant due dates or even a really bad practice or game. “Being able to just shake things off and learn from it has been a challenge through a lot of my life, but I definitely think that taking on these professional, academic, and athletic roles have helped me to understand that everything has a way of working itself out in the end.”

She credits the relationships she has made as her best reward. Dziuba explained, “I have been able to get to know my teammates, coworkers, classmates, professors and even some administrative staff. These relationships mean so much to me, and it’s such a blessing to have the opportunity to build those relationships.”

With success on so many levels that both Briseno and Dziuba have achieved, they both credit the support they have received from the community. Briseno said, “the support I receive from my professors, teammates, and staff is always above and beyond, and I am truly grateful for that. My professors are the GOAT (Dr. James Hall, Dr. Stephen Salako and Dr. Brenda Guerrero, just to name a few). Even when I am struggling to understand something, I know I can always knock on their office door, and they will help in any way they can. They have always been super understanding and flexible regarding my traveling schedule. My teammates have always felt like sisters to me. The camaraderie that I discovered when I first joined the team my freshman year has never left, and I feel so lucky to be a part of something so special. My bosses are awesome! Both Cat (Catherine Fragoso) and Scarlett (Scarlett Alonzo) are always interested in what I have to say, always giving me the best life advice while at the same time teaching me invaluable skills for when I enter into my profession.”

Director of Student Leadership and Development Catherine Fragoso said, “I commend Lili on her dedication and adaptability. When many individuals re-prioritized responsibilities, Lili leaned into her student leadership position and adapted to a Covid-19 pandemic, changes in higher education and changes in the onboarding of new incoming undergraduate students. Her attention was focused on serving the new students as best as possible to make their college transition a positive and memorable experience. Lili has a constant smile, she’s approachable, and she is a positive individual who genuinely cares about students at OLLU. She is a joy to work with as she leads with ease and grace, motivating others around her to greatness.”

Briseno also recognized the role Head Coach Salazar and Assistant Coach Natalie Stahmann have played in her life. “Art and Natalie have always shown their support on and off the field, and I very much appreciate all the work they do behind the scenes for their players.”

This semester, Dziuba had hip surgery, and the few weeks upon her return were hard for her, not just physically but also mentally. “My teammates were super helpful and supportive every time I reached a new milestone (like walking with the crutches). The staff and my coworkers in student leadership and development also understood when I would have to call out because I was in too much pain, and they are really supportive and caring when it comes to my recovery process.”

Dziuba appreciated her math and science professor Dr. Stephen Salako for her directed study class.

“Dr. Salako was very aware of how I was feeling, and he didn’t want to have me do too much in terms of walking, so he made class online for a couple of weeks. The coaching staff has also been very encouraging with my progress in my rehab.”

Fragoso said of Dziuba, “Rachel is a brave young woman who started her higher education journey during Covid-19 and began working for SLD at the same time. She has unwavering dependability and a desire to make a difference at OLLU. Rachel demonstrates professional composure and maturity that has been a blessing to witness as she listens to her fellow students and makes decisions that positively impact the campus community.”  

Briseno and Dziuba’s advice to others who might want to follow in their footsteps is similar.

Briseno said, “I would tell them to take a leap of faith and just do it and put yourself out there. I’d tell them that now is the time to try new things and the best way to discover what you do and do not like is to apply and try it out.”

Dziuba commented, “They should do it. It seems like a lot on your plate, but it really just helps you connect to the school. You can gain a deeper understanding and love for OLLU by being involved and making a difference.”

Briseno plans to graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. She is still deciding on her plans after graduation, but she did apply and was accepted into the master’s degree in School Psychology program here at OLLU. She is also interested in pursuing physical therapy school.

Dzuba plans to stay and play her fifth year while being a part of the master’s program for Non-Profit Management. Then she plans to get a master’s degree in Water/Environmental Sciences from another university. She will graduate in the spring of 2024 with a Bachelor of Science in Biomathematics and Environmental Science.

Fragoso concluded, “It has been wonderful to work with both ladies in their respective areas. I have seen such growth from both young women. But then they brought such humble maturity to the table that makes my job easy in providing them personal leadership development.”

The university commends Liliana Briseno and Rachel Dziuba for their success. Their accomplishments prove that student-athletes can be academically successful and effective as leaders on campus. Briseno and Dziuba have been highly focused on a vision and have maintained a realistic strategy for success. Through their struggles and conflict, they have learned to think strategically and shift course when necessary.

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