How does one get from Adelaide, South Australia to Lafayette, LA?

Depends on who you ask.

If you are Scott Way, it's pretty simple--take a 27-hour flight to Dallas, rent a car, and make the six-hour drive to Cajun Country.

"Two in-flight movies, a sleeping pill, and a breakfast," explains Scott on how he, his wife Anne, and daughter Hannah made the trip somewhat bearable.

The obvious follow-up question--"Why go from Adelaide, South Australia to Lafayette, LA?"

That answer is pretty simple as well--they wanted to see the fourth member of the Way family, UL senior tennis player Alexandra (better known as Ali) compete in her last home match Saturday against Prairie View A&M.

With her family standing beside her on center court, Ali was honored in a pre-match ceremony with flowers, a framed collage of her four-year UL career, and glowing remarks from head women's tennis coach Stephanie Vallejos.

"Ali has grown and matured in each of her four years here," Vallejos told a nice-sized crowd gathered at Cajun Courts._ "She has steadily become a better player and more importantly, she has made those around her better players and better people.

"She may be leaving UL," Vallejos continued, "but she will always be a Ragin' Cajun."

Although she did not address the crowd at the ceremony ("I told Coach Vallejos that I didn't think I'd be able to get the words out," Ali told a bystander later), she did make her sentiments clear after she ended her home career in fine style, winning both her doubles and singles matches against Prairie View.

"I may not have been born a Cajun," Ali said, "but I feel like one now._ Plus I've gotten good at peeling crawfish._ It doesn't take me 30 minutes anymore to finish my pile."

Spoken like a true Cajun indeed.

One key word that was repeated in conversations with Ali, her parents, and her sister was "family."

Seems like Cajun family ties extend to those down under.

"I've enjoyed incredible support during the whole time I've been here," observed Ali, "not only from the tennis community but the extended family as well."

Mother Anne, an educational psychologist at a Catholic school in Adelaide, mentioned the Ragin' Cajun Catholics as a strong support group, as well as the legendary "Southern hospitality" of the Acadiana culture.

Sister Hannah added, "Ali definitely has a strong network of support here and it extends beyond the tennis community."

Dad Scott, also a psychologist, commented,_ "Being so far way, Ali was exposed._ But the tennis family and extended community support helped get her to where she is now."

Scott, by the way, mixed a little business with this pleasure trip, addressing a group of Human Resource professionals in Lafayette earlier during his stay.

The Way family watched Ali's final two home matches in relative quietness, occasionally clapping for a good shot but not saying much, if anything at all.

"We were instructed in no uncertain terms to be quiet," Scott laughed.

To their credit, the Way's did just that.

Before heading back to Adelaide, the Way's are going to Nashville, where Hannah (a singer of sorts) hope to "be discovered" and then flying to Dallas to catch the Ragin' Cajuns and Ali play UT Arlington in a Sun Belt Conference match on Friday.

And then the 27-hour return trip to their Aussie homeland._ But they will return to Cajun Country in December for Ali's graduation, where she will receive her Bachelor's degree with a concentration in Physical Therapy.

As for Ali, how exactly did she get from Adelaide to Lafayette?

Her answer is somewhat different than was her father's.

Turns out it wasn't even the normal six degrees of separation that unite all mankind.

In Ali's case, it was one degree, taking the form of ex-UL Men's Tennis player and fellow Aussie Carl Alberton.

The year was 2013._ "Carl and I were playing in the same junior tournament and ended up playing on courts right next to each other," Ali recalled._ "I knew I wanted to play collegiate tennis but just wasn't sure where."

Seems like between points, Ali and Carl had several conversations, much to Scott's chagrin. "I mean," Scott says, "they were talking like lunatics during their matches._ I looked at Ali like 'What are you doing?'."

One can picture Ali looking back at her father as if to say, "Chill out Dad, I've got this."

And got it she did.

Carl told Ali that he knew the UL women's team was looking for players._ Also, several members of both the men's and women's teams were fellow Aussies. Sealing the deal was the fact that UL men's coach, Mark Jeffrey, was an Aussie himself.

One thing led to another and soon the winner of those "lunatic" matches was rendered immaterial._ What was important is that the Ragin' Cajuns had secured themselves another in a long list of Aussies.

That whole scenario played itself out in what has now transferred into "the way, the Ali way," an expression Ali's UL teammates bestowed upon her, primarily for her attacking style of play on the court.

Scott explains. "Most Europeans hit a high and heavy ball, resulting in slow, looping, moonball rallies._ Aussie juniors are taught the 'first strike' method where they attack the first ball that they possibly can."

Ali brought that style of play with her to Acadiana.

While the "Ali way" will have run its course by the end of the Sun Belt Conference tournament April 20-23 in New Orleans, it will continue off the court when her collegiate playing career officially comes to a close.

"I'd like to help others find their way to UL," stated Ali._ "I know what my experience here has meant to me._ I want others to experience that as well."

It is not much of a stretch to imagine Ali Way attacking the tennis ball on an Adelaide court in between classes as she returns next year to pursue an advanced degree in Physical Therapy.

On a court next to her will be some up and coming Aussie junior.

Between rallies on the adjacent courts, a conversation will ensue. The subject of collegiate tennis is discussed.

The "Ali way" kicks in.

You know how the rest of the story will play out.