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Tennessee's Ally Shipman Talks Quarantine Life, Next Season

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(Photo by Maury Neipris via Tennessee Athletics)

Now that the dust has settled a bit in the college softball world following COVID-19's cancellation of the second half of the 2020 season, SA has taken some time to catch up with current college softball student-athletes while they are quarantined at home.

Today's college softball player on display is Tennessee sophomore catcher Ally Shipman, who was one of SA's 2020 NCAA Shortened Season All-Americans.

See SA's interview with Shipman below.

How have you and your teammates been handling the current situation? And how have you been managing your emotions through this?

Ally Shipman: As a team, we have been doing a lot of team conferences and group chats. Just trying to stay in touch because I think one of the hardest things is not being able to be around everyone you are used to seeing during this time of year. So, we have been really trying to take time out of our days to check in on each other. Me and some other teammates make sure certain times of the week to call other teammates to make sure they are doing ok.

Personally, I feel like I have been through this already with my injury last year. Two years in a row I had my season cut off on March 12. It definitely has been a change of pace, but it’s not really that big of a difference for me.

What has been your favorite quarantine activity? Have you taken on any household projects or found something to keep you busy?

AS: My family and I actually all live in the same neighborhood (including Tennessee legend and older sister Madison Shipman) so we spend a lot of time together. My favorite activity would be family dinners and game nights, which we try to do at least once a week. Madison also just had a baby, so I love to go over there and hang out with (the baby).

What do you think about the NCAA’s decision regarding student-athlete eligibility? Do you know if any of your seniors plan to return next year?

AS: I was so excited to hear about the eligibility ruling because I had last year taken away and I’m not sure if I’m going to get that medical hardship back, and I probably won’t know until my last year. When the season first ended, my first thought was, “I’m going to lose two years of eligibility and barely have played 40 games.” So, I was really excited to hear I’m a least going to get one year back.

I know Chelsea Seggern and Cailin Hannon are for sure coming back. The other seniors are undecided.

Assuming a lot of seniors come back across the country, how good do you think this sport will be next spring with the depth of talent that every team may have?

AS: I think the rosters are going to be unbelievable with how many players every team can have. Coach Karen Weekly was on a conference call and some other SEC teams said they were going to have 32 people on their roster next year. I just think that’s unbelievable and unheard of. So, I think that will be interesting to see how coaches handle playing time and things like that. I also think the transfer portal will get a little crazy because of the (large rosters and playing time). Nobody really knows what it is going to look like, but it will be crazy, that’s for sure.

Unfortunately, both of your seasons playing for Tennessee have been cut short. But, your performance this season earned you a spot on SA’s All-America list. What are you most looking forward to about next season?

AS: I am most looking forward to not having to think about my injury so much. This entire season, I spent a lot of time focusing on how I was going to push through catching with my knee. Next season will be the first season I can just focus on my mental game and playing and not have to worry about taking 45 minutes to warm up (my knee). I’m looking forward to a smooth-sailing season without some of those bumps.

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