Northwestern softball, fresh off its first Women's College World Series appearance in 15 years, announced Thursday that five of its senior All-Big Ten players, including All-Americans Danielle Williams and Jordyn Rudd, will return next season.
When COVID-19 interrupted the 2020 season, NCAA athletes were granted an extra year of eligibility, creating a category of so-called super seniors.
Williams, a first-team All-American and the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year, was 31-6 with a 2.09 ERA this season. Her 333 strikeouts were the third-most in the country.
Rudd, a third-team All-American, led the team with a .370 batting average.
Nikki Cuchran, Maeve Nelson and Skyler Shellmyer -- All-Big Ten selections -- joined Rudd and Williams in announcing their return.
Northwestern finished 45-13 this season and hosted an NCAA regional, beating Oakland and McNeese State to advance in the tournament.
The Wildcats then beat No. 8-seed Arizona State to reach the program's first WCWS since 2007. Northwestern was eliminated after losing to eventual national champion Oklahoma and No. 5-seed UCLA.