Feb 1, 2013 4:52 PM by UL Sports Information
Coming off a season in which she belted 13 home runs, led the nation in runs scored and ranked third in RBI, Nerissa Myers had already established herself as one of collegiate softball's top players.
On Friday, it came as no surprise to anyone associated with the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns softball program that the senior shortstop was recognized as one of the 50 student-athletes listed on USA Softball's "Watch List" for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award.
"The whole country finally got to see during Super Regionals last year and take note of what we have been saying for the past two years...that Nerissa is one of the best shortstops in the country," head coach Michael Lotief said. "Defensively, because of her range and strong arm, she has always been rock solid, but she has really developed offensively becoming a dual threat.
"She's now able to beat a defense with her speed and the short game or swinging away with power," Lotief added. "Nerissa is not only exceptional athletically, but she is mentally tough and has become a leader by making those around her better whether it means holding them to a higher standard or putting her arm around them and telling it going to be okay or taking a freshman on the side and explaining them something about the game."
Now in its 12th year, the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, given by the National Governing Body for softball in the United States, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
Previous recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award, the most prestigious individual honor in NCAA Division I Softball, are UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman (2002), Texas pitcher Cat Osterman (2003, 2005 and 2006), Florida State pitcher Jessica Van der Linden (2004), Tennessee pitcher Monica Abbott (2007), Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher (2008), Washington pitcher Danielle Lawrie (2009 and 2010), Stanford shortstop Ashley Hansen (2011) and pitcher Oklahoma senior pitcher Keilani Ricketts (2012).
"Nerissa has earned the right to be considered among the best in our game," Lotief remarked. "Through hard word and consistent performance she has truly become on f the best of the best."
A year ago, Myers adjusted her swing to produce a career-best 13 home runs and 79 RBI. She sported a sparkling .514 on-base percentage and struck out only 13 times in 239 plate appearances. The result was a team-best 83 runs scored, a figure which led the nation.
Myers earned first team All-Sun Belt honors, was named first team NFCA All-Central Region and was selected to the 2012 NFCA/Louisville Slugger Division I All-America team. Myers broke the Sun Belt and UL record for runs scored and slugged four grand slams, tying her for third-most in a season in NCAA history.
The Petal, Miss., native provides the Ragin' Cajuns with one of the top defensive shortstops in the nation, having committed only 15 errors over the past 377 chances the last two seasons combined. Myers enters the 2013 season on a string of 168 consecutive games started.
The Top 25 Finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 10.
The Top 10 Finalists will be announced May 8 and the Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 22. On May 28 prior to the start of the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.
Myers and her Ragin' Cajuns teammates enter the 2013 season ranked No. 11 in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 polls.
Louisiana opens the 2013 campaign - the senior season for Myers - next Saturday (Feb. 9) with a pair of games in the Hilton Plaza Classic in Houston. UL faces Lipscomb at 4:30 p.m. and Iowa at 7 p.m. at Cougar Softball Field on the UH campus.
Preparing to embark on the 33rd season in program history, the Ragin' Cajuns are coming off one of their more successful seasons. Last season, Louisiana (53-6, 21-3 Sun Belt) lost only four times during the regular season, hosted an NCAA Regional at Lamson Park and came within one win of reaching the Women's College World Series.
For all of the latest news and information on Ragin' Cajuns Athletics, visit RaginCajuns.com. Fans can also follow the athletics department on its social media outlets at www.Facebook.com/ULRaginCajuns along with @ULRaginCajuns on Twitter.
2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List
Name (School) - Year - Position - Hometown
Emily Allard (Northwestern) - Senior - Utility - Antioch, Calif.
Nikki Armagost (Pacific) - Senior - Pitcher/Utility - Andover, Kan.
Marisa Bast (Northwestern) - Junior - Infield - Orange, Calif.
B.B. Bates (UCLA) - Senior - Outfield - Victorville, Calif.
Cassidy Bell (Penn State) - Senior - Outfield - Bakersfield, Calif.
Kayla Braud (Alabama) - Senior - Outfield - Eugene, Ore.
Amy Buntin (Notre Dame) - Senior - Catcher - Franklin, Tenn.
Whitney Canion (Baylor) - RS Junior - Pitcher - Aledo, Texas
Lauren Chamberlain (Oklahoma) - Sophomore - Trabuco Canyon, Calif.
Raven Chavanne (Tennessee) - Senior - Third base/Outfield - Thousand Oaks, Calif.
J.C. Clayton (BYU) - Senior - Infield - Hollister, Calif.
Brigette Del Ponte (Arizona) - Senior - Infield - Peoria, Ariz.
Mel Dumezich (Texas A&M) - Senior - Pitcher/Infield - Whiting, Ind.
Dallas Escobedo (Arizona State) - Junior - Pitcher - Glendale, Ariz.
Rachele Fico (LSU) - Senior - Pitcher - Oxford, Conn.
Amber Freeman (Arizona State) - Sophomore - Catcher - Lakewood, Calif.
Olivia Galati (Hofstra) - Senior - Pitcher/Designated Player - West Babylon, N.Y.
Teagan Gerhart (Stanford) - Senior - Pitcher - Norco, Calif.
Lauren Gibson (Tennessee) - Senior - Infield- Pasadena, Md.
Tara Glover (Boise State) - Junior - Outfield - Grants Pass, Ore.
Jolene Henderson (Cal) - Senior - Pitcher/First base - Elk Grove, Calif.
Taylor Hoagland (Texas) - Senior - Outfield/Third base - Flower Mound, Texas
Kylene Hopkins (Michigan State) - Senior - Outfield - Menifee, Calif.
Kaila Hunt (Alabama) - Junior - Infield - Evans, Ga.
Kaitlin Inglesby (Washington) - Junior - Pitcher - Portland, Ore.
Jessica Iwata (Hawaii) - Senior - Shortstop - Lihu'e, Hawaii
Alix Johnson (Arizona State) - Junior - Outfield - San Diego, Calif.
Stephany LaRosa (UCLA) - Sophomore - Diamond Bar, Calif.
Blaire Luna (Texas) - Senior - Pitcher - Austin, Texas
Hayley Miles (San Diego State) - Junior - Utility - Antelope, Calif.
Jessica Moore (Oregon) - Senior - Pitcher - Sutter, Calif.
Nerissa Myers (Louisiana) - Senior - Infield - Petal, Miss.
Sara Nevins (South Florida) - Junior - Pitcher - Pinellas Park, Fla.
Haley Outon (Houston) - Junior - Catcher - Pflugerville, Texas
Samantha Pappas (Oregon) - Senior - Outfield - Mission Viejo, Calif.
Ellen Renfroe (Tennessee) - Junior - Pitcher - Jackson, Tenn.
Jenna Rich (Stanford) - Senior - Infield - El Segundo, Calif.
Keilani Ricketts (Oklahoma) - Senior - Pitcher - San Jose, Calif.
Shellie Robinson (USC Upstate) - Sophomore - Outfield - DeLand, Fla.
Hannah Rogers (Florida) - Junior - Pitcher - Lake Wales, Fla.
Madison Shipman (Tennessee) - Junior - Infield - Valencia, Calif.
Jessica Shults (Oklahoma) - Senior - Catcher - Valencia, Calif.
Tess Sito (Georgia) - Senior - Pitcher/Utility - Elyria, Ohio
Chelsea Thomas (Missouri) - Senior - Pitcher - Pleasantville, Iowa
Jackie Traina (Alabama) - Junior - Pitcher/Designated player - Naples, Fla.
Kirsten Verdun (DePaul) - Junior - Pitcher/First Base - Coal City, Ill.
Haylie Wagner (Michigan) - Sophomore - Pitcher - Orange, Calif.
Devon Wallace (Arkansas) - Sophomore - Utility - Double Oak, Texas
Hallie Wilson (Arizona) - Sophomore - Outfield - Santa Ana, Calif.
Hanna Winter (Stanford) - Sophomore - Infield - Camarillo, Calif.