LAFAYETTE — The expectation for the Teurlings Catholic softball program is to always end the season by playing for a state championship.
The Lady Rebels have claimed a state title five times (1989, 2000, 2001, 2007, 2012) and have finished as state runner-up another six times (1997, 2002, 2003, 2006, 2011, 2013). That standard means regardless of how many star players the program loses from the year before, the expectation never changes.
“There are no ifs, ands or buts about it,” senior pitcher Summer Ellyson said. “It is something we have to do.”
To meet those lofty standards, Teurlings Catholic leans on its senior class every season for their all-state caliber performance and their veteran leadership. This year’s team features four such players: third baseman Monique LaVergne, first baseman Ashlin Naquin, left fielder Kiley Thibodeaux and Louisiana-Lafayette signee Ellyson.
“They have had a strong presence and they have really stepped up as leaders,” Teurlings Catholic third-year coach Lauren Delahoussaye said. “Four is not a very big number but it is a testament to staying through our program. Our program we will start off with 10 freshmen and end up with only three or four seniors from that class. We expect a lot from them. It is a big commitment.”
For LaVergne and Naquin, they found out about that commitment when the two transferred into the program last season.
“Everything is much more intense here,” said Naquin, who transferred from Westminster Christian Academy. “That’s because we have those high expectations. I know that I always have to give a 110 percent.”
“It kind of made me nervous at first,” said LaVergne, who transferred from Carencro High. “But once I got to practice I realized it was just about playing the game I know.”
The four have helped lead Teurlings Catholic to a 12-4 overall record and a Top 5 ranking in the most recent Class 4A power rankings. Tuerlings Catholic hosts District 5-4A opponent Northside today at 4 p.m.
As good as the team has been performing on the field; the foursome has been equally as focused as providing leadership for this year’s freshman class.
“Whenever there not doing something right on the field or off the field it is our job to guide them into the right direction,” Ellyson said. “It is about teaching them the small things they may be doing wrong and it comes from a player’s perspective.”
Added LaVergne, “All of the upperclassmen gave me a helping hand when I first transferred in last season. Now I am just trying to do the same.”
The foursome has additional motivation as this is their final opportunity of playing for a state championship, which is more meaningful after last year’s disappointing playoff finish. Tuerlings Catholic was the No. 2 seed in the 2014 Class 4A bracket but was upset by No. 15 North DeSoto in regional round.
“It is an honor to be able to play for a team that has so much heart for the game,” Thibodeaux said. “I love softball and I put out all of my heart and everything for this team in hopes that we can accomplish our ultimate goal which is to win state.”