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Softball - Foote: Glasco is right - it's time for Cajuns to win another regional

Kevin Foote, Acadiana Advocate, May 17, 2021

It’s something coaches have said forever, and essentially it’s true.

But it’s really, really true with UL softball coach Gerry Glasco.

He definitely does expect more out of himself and his team than the fans do.

So it shouldn’t surprise anyone that he didn’t beat about the bush when the question was asked following Sunday evening’s NCAA softball selection show that sent his No. 14-ranked Ragin’ Cajuns to the Baton Rouge regional.

Exactly how important is it for the Cajuns to win this regional?

“Extremely important,” Glasco agreed. “It’s time to get it done. As a coach, each round, you win or you lose. We’ve lost two in the championship round. I don’t want to be known as Regional Glasco. I want to get that off my back as quick as possible. We’d like to get it done this year. It’s important. There’s no denying that. It’s very important.”

It's now been five years since this program advanced to the super regional round after doing so for five consecutive seasons, ending with the 2016 trip to Oklahoma.

No one blinked an eye when Glasco’s Cajuns beat all three teams in the Baton Rouge Regional in 2018, before falling to LSU 3-1 in the regional finals.

That was a transition season after taking over after the Michael Lotief era abruptly ended. That team overachieved.

A year later, though, was a bit more disappointing when a 52-win Cajuns squad lost two games to Ole Miss on the final day to again fall one win short of the super regionals.

Obviously all signs pointed towards getting over the jump, but we’ll never know because of the coronavirus shutdown.

After a season filled with injuries, this 2021 club didn’t look like a legitimate Women’s College World Series contender for much of the season. But of late, the team’s ceiling has been elevated. Suddenly, WCWS thoughts are dancing in the heads of UL fans everywhere again.

“This is a talented team and they’re determined,” Glasco said. “I like the mindset we’re in right now. I’m very confident in my ball club.”

It’s not like Glasco’s never been beyond the regional level. As an assistant coach at Georgia, his teams went to two WCWS and three super regionals. And as an assistant coach at Texas A&M, he was on a WCWS team in 2017.

Now it’s time to enjoy those elite levels as a head coach.

“I think it would be awesome to do that with coach Glasco. I’ve been here the whole career (Glasco era),” senior shortstop Alissa Dalton said. “Just to finally get over that little hump we have in regionals and going to supers would be very important. It would mean a lot to him especially because he works so hard and coaches all of us every day. Getting that done for him and also for our teammates would be pretty great.”

This year’s contingent of seniors have endured a perplexing season this spring and seem to be coming along at the right time.

“I think it would mean a lot to him, because it would show him that we have his back,” senior outfielder Ciara Bryan said. “I think we’re all going to be giving it our all this weekend. Not just for ourselves, but for the coaches and for our teammates. This is the seniors’ last shot and we want to go out with a bang.”

Sure, this is the 22nd straight season in a regional and the 30th over the last 31 years.

Is that something to be proud of? Absolutely.

But this program has never been about just getting to regionals … at least not since that first Women’s College World Series appearance in 1993.

Seniors like Summer Ellyson, Julie Rawls, Dalton and Kaitlyn Alderink didn’t put their futures on hold for one more season just to make an NCAA regional.

Dalton discussed a conversation she had with Rawls after the pandemic erased last season.

“We haven’t done everything we want to do at this university,” Dalton said. “Me and her coming back has been to kind of finish the job and to go supers and make it to the world series.

“It means a lot that we came back and we have the talent and the skill to actually make it this year. We have great athletes all throughout the lineup. We’re really good at every position. Yeah, we’re ready.”

And Glasco didn't go through all the painful changes he's had to during this trying campaign just for it to end at a regional.

However you slice it, there’s just no arguing with Glasco’s original statement.

It’s time.