OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – With the beginning of softball season less than three weeks away, preseason softball polls were released, Tuesday morning. The Lipscomb Lady Bison softball team received votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
Lipscomb received two votes in the poll, and has now received votes in two consecutive preseason polls and at different points in each of the past three years.
“We’ve got a smart group of girls that understand the preseason votes are an honor,” said Lipscomb head coach Kristin Ryman. “It’s extremely nice to be noticed in a national poll.
“We’re thrilled to have the honor but it’s just predictions right now. If we play the way we’re capable of, I absolutely think we’ll be in a position to continue receiving votes or to move into the poll.”
Lipscomb finished 30-20 last season, with a 15-5 record in the Atlantic Sun. Seniors Whitney Kiihnl and Caroline Mason were both named All-Conference, and sophomore Haley Elliott was named to the All-Freshman team.
Also back for Lipscomb will be senior catcher Mollie Mitchell (eight home runs, team-leading 36 RBI in 2011) and junior Bree Thurman (six home runs, team-high 13 steals). Junior transfer Kelsey Cartwright (Auburn) and redshirt freshman Ashley Anderson will make much-anticipated debuts for the Lady Bison this season as well.
“We’re going to be exciting to watch this year,” Ryman said. “We could absolutely live up to these rankings and more. Right now it’s not about living up to expectations. It’s good to be noticed on the national level and we want to keep it that way; now we have to stay focused on doing what we do and let the rest take care of itself."
The Lady Bison will be challenged early in the season when they face an Alabama squad ranked second in the USA Softball poll at the Mardi Gras Tournament, Feb. 11. The Crimson Tide knocked the Lady Bison out of their only NCAA Regional to date, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. two years ago.
“We schedule tough every year,” Ryman said. “We have a very tough conference and we want to do everything we can to physically and mentally prepare for that. We also want to put ourselves in a position to where we would be in a position to get an at-large bid if we don’t win our conference championship.”
The Lady Bison will open the season on Feb. 10 in day one of the Mardi Gras Tournament. Lipscomb will face Jacksonville State, Mississippi State, South Alabama and the aforementioned Crimson Tide in Mobile, Ala.