Almost every afternoon, University of Dallas students all over the west side of campus can hear a constant chorus of excited shouts floating up from the softball field, where the 23 members of the 2016 softball team are hard at work. Their exuberant chants speak to a program that has been gaining skill and prowess under third-year head coach Beth Krysiak; one that is ready to bring a new level of competition to the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC).
Despite a successful 2015 season, where the Lady Crusaders broke .500 for the first time since 2010, the girls are only looking forward.
“Although we have a solid returning squad, we are a young team with a large freshman class and a lot of potential,” junior outfielder and team captain Lyda Tesauro said.
With so many young faces, this season is something new and exciting, both for those seeing a college field for the first time and for those returning.
“We had to learn to trust each other on the field and mesh as a team – basically become a family,” Tesauro said of their preseason training.
Her teammates echoed her sentiments.
“Our team is looking good,” freshman pitcher Paige Parks said. “We get along really well and there is an overall positivity and excitement for this season. Our fall season helped us a lot to get used to playing with each other, and it helped me and the other freshmen get acclimated to college and the time commitment of playing a college sport.”
A huge part of the success the team hopes for will be in their leadership. The four captains include Tesauro, senior shortstop Erin Begle, junior outfielder Bailey DiStefano and junior first and third baseman Alexandria Compte, all under the guidance of Coach Krysiak.
“Coach K is great because she won’t let us be complacent with our skill level,” Parks said. “She pushes us to get better with every practice and workout. Our captains are always encouraging the team and constantly concerned with what is best for us.”
Tesauro closed her remarks with a strong statement of the team’s goals for the 2016 season:
“We have very high expectations this season. We are coming out strong and ready to take on our opponents. Our fans should expect to see more wins and a lot of high-energy games. Most importantly, other teams should know that we are a force to be reckoned with and should be taken seriously.”
The Lady Crusaders have their first games on Feb. 14 at home against Hendrix College at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m.