The University of Dallas softball team stepped onto the field to begin this season under the leadership of four captains: senior shortstop Erin Begle, senior outfielder Bailey DiStefano, junior outfielder Lyda Tesauro, and junior first and third baseman Alexandria Compte.
“Since this [was] our first official year having captains, this was definitely a learning experience for all of us,” DiStefano said. “We’re all incredibly different people and we each brought unique strengths to the table.”
Begle, who could not be reached for comment, was praised by all her fellow captains for her work ethic and her ability to bring the team together.
“Erin’s strength was that she understood our coach the best,” Tesauro said. “She was able to communicate what coach expected of us when we were unsure what her expectations were.”
“Erin has pushed for the team to be a family all year,” Compte said. “Her work ethic has been a huge part of growing this team into a successful one.”
Compte herself stood out as a leader and a source of energy and focus. She has been a softball player since second grade, and although her abilities gained the attention of Division I and Division II schools during her college search, she found her place at UD.
“I fell in love with how the students [here] interacted with each other; the campus just seemed like a family,” Compte said. “And when I got recruited, the softball team was by no stretch of the imagination a winning program, but I wanted to come and make a difference.”
According to her teammates, she has made that difference.
“Alexandria is a natural born leader,” DiStefano said. “Her commanding presence on the field and in the dugout played a huge part in the formation of our team’s dynamic.”
Balancing Compte’s assertive role was fellow junior Tesauro’s approachable personality. As a lifelong softball player and a dedicated business student, Tesauro brought her athletic, academic and interpersonal skills to bear as the teammate everybody was comfortable coming to for advice and encouragement.
“Lyda is an incredibly relatable person with a great sense of humor and a huge heart,” DiStefano said. “She really helped build relationships in between the freshmen and the more senior members of the team.”
“Bailey’s strength was her calmness and ability to smooth things over when things got out of hand,” Tesauro said, returning the compliment.
Compte agreed, crediting DiStefano with keeping the captains calm, open-minded and working together.
“She is most definitely the quietest captain we have,” Compte said of DiStefano. “But her leadership skills show[ed] through her hard work.”
Finally, the captains all recognized their coaching staff, head coach Beth Krysiak and her father, volunteer assistant coach Jim Krysiak, for their paramount role in the team’s success.
“I decided to play at UD because I loved the vision that Coach K had for the program,” DiStefano said. “Even before season started, she had big plans for the team and the legacy she wanted to build, and it was hard not to buy into it. She came into a program that had had a few rough years, and completely turned it around.”
“Our coaching staff is awesome,” Compte said. “Coach K is one of the most upbeat people I have ever met. She really believes in this team and does everything she can to make sure we succeed. [Coach Jim] knows the game of softball better than any coach I have ever had. He loves the game and reminds us to love it too.”
According to Tesauro, head coach Krysiak played a huge role in the aggressive style that brought the Crusaders so much success on offense this season, while her father, Jim Krysiak, helped to bolster the mental fortitude and acuity of players in the outfield. Together with the captains, these coaches led the Crusader softball team to their most successful season yet.
DiStefano, who has finished her final season here at UD and is scheduled to graduate next December, summed up the Crusader experience and wished the team well.
“I loved this program and I’m incredibly proud of the legacy I’m leaving behind, and I wish all the best to the future of UD softball,” DiStefano said.