This is the second time a Lipscomb program has received votes in a national top 25 poll. The Lady Bisons basketball team received one vote for two weeks in a row in the NCAA Poll in January 2005.
In the Ultimate College Softball web site’s poll the Lady Bisons received 41 points. Hofstra, which had 47 points, filled the 25th position in the poll. Kentucky, one of the teams the Lady Bisons beat last weekend in the Frost Classic in Chattanooga, Tenn., is ranked 22nd. Selected coaches vote on this poll.
In the National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll the Lady Bisons received one vote for the top 25.
“It means a tremendous amount from where we started five years ago until now,” Lady Bison coach Kristin Ryman said. “It means a tremendous amount to the way we have recruited and the hard work our girls have put it in. And we don’t want to stop now.
“We are not a program that has been around forever. It feels good to be where we are right now. But we see a bigger picture of what we would like to do this season.”
Being recognized nationally is what every program wants. Ryman knows that such exposure is priceless.
“Lipscomb has been fighting for several years in all of the sports to be more nationally recognized,” Ryman said. “We are very capable of doing it in multiple sports. It is good to see us break through.”
The ESPN.com/USA Softball poll added Kentucky at No. 23. It was their first time to be included. The Lady Bisons did not receive any votes in this poll.
“Every poll is slightly different,” Ryman said. “The better a team like Kentucky does after we have beaten them the better it is for us.”
Ryman thinks that this type of recognition should be something that the current roster and all of the players, dating back to the NAIA days, can share in and celebrate.
“I think it is great for our school and our program,” Ryman said. “It should speak volumes to the girls on the team now and players going all the way to the NAIA. I was one of those NAIA players.
“I remember going through the transition from NAIA to NCAA. We thought we had good players, but we were wondering if we were ever going to get over that hump and become the program that we thought we could become.”
Lady Bisons hosting first tournament
The Lady Bisons are hosting their first ever tournament, the Lady Bisons Classic, at Draper Diamond this weekend. They will play Murray State at 4 p.m. Friday. On Saturday they face Eastern Kentucky at 2:30 and Murray State again at 4:45. They close out the tournament Sunday at 2:30 against Evansville.
Murray State is in its first season of collegiate softball. The Lady Bisons have never played Evansville in softball.
Murray State earned the program’s first win ever Wednesday in the second game of a doubleheader with Evansville. Murray State, 1-6, won the game 6-2.
Evansville is 2-4 heading into the tournament. Eastern Kentucky is 0-9.
“We are excited about hosting our first tournament,” Ryman said. “We have tried to take all of the things we have liked about other tournaments and to use them in our tournament.
“We want the teams to have a great experience and want to come back. We also want other teams to hear about our tournament and want to play here.”
Lady Bisons lead A-Sun
The Lady Bisons are led offensively by first baseman Kellie Sirus. She leads the Atlantic Sun in hitting (.526), slugging percentage (1.026), on base percentage (.568), total bases (39, 3.00 per game), runs batted in (16), hits (20) and runs scored (17). She is tied for first in home runs with four.
Shortstop Courtney Billington leads the conference in doubles with seven.
Lipscomb pitcher Whitney Kiihnl leads the conference with a 0.18 earned run average and a 0.66 opponent’s batting average. She is also the leader in strikeouts with 85, 15.51 per game, in 49.1 innings. She leads the conference in wins with eight and shutouts with three. She has not lost a game this season.
The Lady Bisons lead the conference in with a .355 batting average and a 1.29 team ERA.
Written by Mark McGee, Senior Publisher/Director of Media Relations