After the pandemic cut short the 2020 spring sports season, all college athletes received an extra year of eligibility.
One Cajuns senior decided to return for one more year with her team.
In what may be a challenging year ahead dealing with COVID protocols and a tough schedule looming, the Cajuns will have a senior who’s been a consistent factor in all of the success: pitcher Summer Ellyson.
As Ellyson explains, her decision to return wasn’t just about her.
“For me, I was getting married,” Ellyson says. “It wasn’t just about me anymore. I had to figure out what was best for me and my husband and our relationship, if I could afford to stay another year and play. I wanted to finish out. I wanted to have my senior day. I wanted to win a national championship with those girls behind my back. It weighed really heavy on me, and I had a hard time with it, but I feel like I made the best decision that I can.”
Make no mistake – the goal for this team is Oklahoma City and a national championship.
And even though the Cajuns don’t have the exact same team they did last season where they were ranked number one in the RPI, Ellyson believes in the talent of the 2021 squad to get to the Women’s College World Series.
“Once we came back in the spring, I had no doubt in my mind,” Ellyson said. “I was like this team is frickin’ good. They’re gonna do whatever it takes. This team is gritty. We’re blue collar. We’re working hard, as hard as we can. I feel like there’s so much healthy competition on the team between the pitchers, the outfielders, between Alissa and Jade, between the catching rotation. I feel like there’s so much healthy competition that this team is looking great right now.”
The Teurlings Catholic product was an NFCA All-American selection her junior season, and is this year’s preseason Sun Belt Pitcher of the Year.
Ellyson’s success and composure in the circle has led to the Lafayette native being an experienced leader of the No. 7 team in the nation.
“I like to stay calm and collected until it’s time to show everybody what we’re made of,” Ellyson says. “I feel like that helps the rest of the pitching staff. I can’t show that I’m nervous. Even if I am a little jittery or whatever it is, I feel like I have to stay calm and collected for everybody else.”
The Cajuns are slated to open the season against Southeastern Louisiana this Friday at the UAB Green and Gold Classic.