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ND Softball: Clay ready to return to field

Katie Heit | Thursday, February 24, 2011

Senior Alexia Clay is eager to get back on the field following a shoulder surgery seven months ago that ended her 2010 season.

The Indiana native started her career at the Tennessee before joining the Irish, and redshirted her sophomore season.

“I chose to transfer here though because Notre Dame softball has always been a good program and they would let me get the education I wanted,” Clay said. “Not to mention the tradition and school atmosphere are unbeatable in comparison to other schools.”

After starting at catcher her junior year, she suffered a shoulder injury that ended her senior season.

Now, as a fifth-year senior, Clay is ready to make an impact on the team once again.

“I’m feeling really good,” Clay said. “I’ve never had surgery before so it’s kind of interesting seeing how it feels [after rehab]. It feels so much better than it felt before. It’s just nice to be back on the field.”

Clay’s shoulder has given her trouble for several years.

“I have struggled with shoulder problems since late in my high school career and it finally caught up to me near the end of my college career,” Clay said. “I played last season injured and wasn’t really able to catch. It also affected my hitting, which was difficult for me because that is my favorite part of the game.”

Clay said the hardest part about college play is the schedule.

“We play 56 games in the regular season, then at least five more in postseason,” Clay said. “We travel all over the country to play and we practice about three to four hours a day. Not to mention we have a lot of early morning conditioning and lifting sessions, and I don’t think anyone is a morning person at 4:20 am.”

Even with the grueling schedule, Clay doesn’t regret her choice to play college softball.

“My favorite part about softball is being able to take batting practice outside late in the day,” Clay said. “It’s really calming to just go hit and enjoy the weather … Not the February weather in South Bend. I’m talking about the nice warm spring evenings that Fr. Sorin probably saw when he decided to found Notre Dame.”

Clay is eager to see what her final season will bring to the Irish.

“We have a lot of great players and things are swinging up for us this year,” Clay said. “I’m excited to see where we go and what we do together and I’m excited to be a part of it in my last year.

Clay thinks that the key to the success this year will be the team’s attitude.

“I think that our team has a lot of spirit,” Clay said. “We’ve had a lot of power in the past and there are always going to be people that are more talented than you and I think our spirit is something that is going to help us pull through.”