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Wednesday, June 16, 2010The final polls are being published and the Lipscomb Lady Bisons are one of the top 40 programs in the country by a consensus of voters.
In the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll the Lady Bisons are ranked 31st with 13 votes in the final poll. The USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association’s poll rates the Lady Bisons 33rd nationally with 13 votes, only two votes behind Long Island in the 31st position.
The Lady Bisons finished 36th in the final NCAA Women’s Softball RPI for 2010.
The Lady Bisons finished with a 50-13 overall record. They won both the Atlantic Sun regular season championship and the A-Sun Tournament championship.
Lady Bisons’ coach Kristin Ryman calls the recognition a tribute to the team, especially the seniors _ Kellie Sirus, Lauren Dortwegt, Abby Keese, Christy Grisham, Alaina Jacobson and Christen Campbell.
“I think it shows how far this team has come,” Ryman said. “The class that just graduated saw the full transition of this program. “That is kind of cool for me. When they came into this program we had won 14 games the season before. By the end of their careers we won 50.”
Ryman stresses that the success of the Lady Bisons this past season, which ended in the NCAA Tuscaloosa Region championship game with Alabama, shows what a small Division I team can accomplish.
“Finishing in the mid-to-upper 30s in almost every poll shows what this program is capable of,” Ryman said. “There are a lot of people out there who haven’t heard about us, but I think people are starting to pay more attention.
“We are a program that is going to be recognized not just for a quality education, a Christian environment or a good softball program, but a program where you can get into the postseason. We can make a regional or a super regional."
Ryman, the 2010 Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year, and assistant coach Lexi Myers will be out on the recruiting trail this summer. The recognition this season will be a plus when meeting recruits.
“Lipscomb is such a great place,” Ryman said. “We always have the conversation about whether or not you can win at small Division I Christian school. We have proven that you can. Volleyball has proven that you can.
“We will be less of an unknown in recruiting. Having an All-American on our team in Whitney Kiihnl grabs the attention of people. A lot of people might not know where we are, but a lot more people have heard of Lipscomb now.”
Ryman’s goal is to make the program even better next season which will be a challenge because of the players she has lost. However, she still returns Kiihnl, Atlantic Sun Player and Pitcher of the Year; and A-Sun First Team All-Conference selections Mollie Mitchell, a catcher; and Courtney Billington, a shortstop.
“We have gotten to a good point with our program,” Ryman said. “I don’t think we feel 100 percent comfortable staying where we are. We want to get a shot at going to a super regional.