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Lady Bisons pick up votes in two Top 25 polls

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
by Mark McGee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Lipscomb Lady Bisons may have made a drop in this week’s NCAA RPI, but their 4-0 record last week has garnered them votes in the two major top 25 polls.

The Lady Bisons received two votes in the ESPN/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll and one vote in the USA Today/NFCA Softball Poll.

The Lady Bisons dropped from No. 28 to No. 33 in this week’s NCAA RPI.

Lipscomb coach Kristin Ryman’s goal is for her team to win the Atlantic Sun Softball Tournament scheduled May 7-10 at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium on the Lipscomb campus. But if they fail to do that they want to be in the mix for an at-large NCAA bid.

“When you are talking about postseason play and at-large bids it is hard to ever get comfortable, especially being in a mid-major conference,” Ryman said. “You have the big power conferences that will get eight or nine teams in the tournament.

“We have to battle that as much as we are just getting a second team in. It is hard to feel comfortable, but at the same time I feel like we have put ourselves in a great position. It is just a matter of us going out and doing what we need to do in the tournament. We can answer some of our own questions by going out and playing our best ball and winning the thing.”

USC Upstate, the No.1 team in the A-Sun, is in the top 25 in three different polls. The winner of the A-Sun Tournament receives the conference’s automatic bid. No softball team in the A-Sun has received an at-large bid.

As a conference the A-Sun is ranked eighth in the RPI.

“We have never gotten a second team in although I think our conference has been very deserving in numerous years,” Ryman said. “We are good softball conference.

“We keep getting better. Everybody in the conference is doing their part.”

The Lady Bisons were last in the NCAA Tournament in 2010 advancing to the final round game against Alabama in the Tuscaloosa regional.

“Upstate is leading the country right now in team earned run average,” Ryman said. “We are doing a lot of really good things in the conference.

“You look at teams like UAB which just jumped ahead of us in the RPI. They have played a ridiculously tough schedule and have done well. And we have two wins against them.”

Ryman and her staff don’t talk with the team much about focusing on postseason play or an at-large berth.

“We want them to understand what is going on, but we don’t want them to press,” Ryman said. “Right now, we are just trying to focus on the things in practice that we know we need to work on that we know are going to help us get better and perform the best we can in the tournament.

“There is a lot to said for focusing on yourself and doing what you need to do as a team.”