Two key members of the Tennessee women's softball team had off-season surgery, but neither expects to miss a beat as the Lady Vols look to return to the Women's College World Series for the third time in three years.
Seniors Madison Shipman and Melissa Davin both suffered injuries toward the end of last season, forcing them to have surgery over the summer. Both players were limited during Tennessee's fall scrimmages, but as the season approaches they are confident their injuries are behind them.
"I'm feeling great," Davin said. "I'm ready to get back at it. I've been 100 percent since December."
Davin, a fourth-year starter from California, had surgery to repair her labrum soon after the Lady Vols ended last years' season and spent most of the fall in rehab to ensure she was ready for the spring.
"I'm still working a little bit on rehab," Davin said. "I just want to keep building the muscle and keep it from reccurring."
Davin has made 124 starts over her career, splitting most of her time between left field and first base. She has been known as a power hitter over her career, and last year finished fourth on the team with five home runs.
Shipman suffered a broken tibia in her knee late last season. The injury did not prevent her from finishing the season strong, however, as she hit a three-run, go-ahead home run against Oklahoma in the 2013 World Series finals.
The Valencia, Calif., native's injury kept her out of fall practice, but she is not expecting any complications going forward.
"I'm feeling really good," Shipman said. "I actually feel better than I did before. I am done with rehab, and I am fully healthy, back to everything. I'm 100 percent."
The senior shortstop has started 184 games at Tennessee and had her best season as a junior, garnering both All-SEC and All-American honors. She was second on the team in home runs (11) and RBIs (63) as well as third on the team in batting average (.367) on the season.
The Lady Vols are coming off another successful season under head coaches Ralph and Karen Weekly. They ended the 2013 season with a 52-12 record, finishing second in the SEC with a 16-6 conference record.
Tennessee reached its sixth Women's College World Series under the Weeklys in 2013, making it to the championship series where they fell in back-to-back games to Oklahoma.
Despite an outstanding finish, Shipman said it was not enough to satisfy the team.
"I want to win a National Championship," Shipman said. "We were so close last year, and I got that taste in my mouth. I wanna make sure we win it this year."
Davin said she has enjoyed her time at Tennessee but is looking to ending her career in style as she begins her senior season.
"I just wanna go out with a bang," Davin said. "I'm gonna make these four years count."