Written by Student Assistant Chelsea Flintoft '14
The Santa Clara men's water polo team will travel to Princeton University on Sept. 9 to play five games over a three-day span. This includes a game televised nationally on Fri., Sept. 10 at 3 P.M. (Pacific) against Princeton on ESPNU. That game can be seen on channel 28 on the Santa Clara campus TV network, channel 208 on DirecTV, or channel 141 on DishNetwork. For cable, check your local listings.
SantaClaraBroncos.com had a chance to sit down with teammates Marcus Akerland (MA) and John Nash (JN) to talk about the upcoming season. Akerland, an up and coming driver from Fremont, Calif., will enter his third season as a Bronco. A native of Orinda, Calif., Nash will enter his second season as the Bronco's No. 2 goalie.
SCU: The team played Cal last Sunday. What was
your mindset going into your first game against the No. 1 team in
JN: Playing the top notch teams in the country
such as Cal provides us with the competition we need to improve.
These tough games allow our team to see our own weaknesses so we
can fine tune them going into our important conference championship
MA: Playing Cal allows us to set the bar for the rest of the season. If something works against Cal, then it will work against almost any other team. We got to see where the team is making mistakes and how we need to fix them because Cal made sure to capitalize on our mistakes, unlike the lower ranked teams.
SCU: What are your expectations for the Princeton Invitational this weekend? What do you want to achieve after your five games?
JN: The Princeton Invitational provides us with a great chance to play some of the best East Coast water polo teams. This being the first travel tournament of the season, it's a great chance for our team to bond in and out of the pool. We are looking forward to all of our games as an opportunity to improve as a team.
MA: It's exciting to play on the East Coast because it is a chance to play against teams we don't usually get to play on the West Coast. Water polo isn't a main-stream sport so it is awesome to be able to be playing on ESPNU against Princeton. At the same time though, it is important to focus on our opponent and not only that we will be on T.V.
SCU: How did this preseason compare to your past?
JN: This preseason was different from the last because everyone stayed at school over the summer and came to practice already in shape. This allowed us to focus more on the game of water polo rather than working on our fitness.
MA: This preseason was difficult because many people were getting injured at different times so it was hard to get into a rhythm. Towards the end of preseason we started to click as a whole unit and that helped us prepare for our game against Cal.
SCU: There are 10 new incoming freshmen on the team this year. How is the class of 2014 working with the rest of the guys so far?
JN: This year's freshmen class has the potential to be one of the strongest classes that Santa Clara has ever seen. All 10 guys have a chance to make an impact during their career at Santa Clara and we look forward to seeing them improve over the season.
MA: All of the freshmen have fitting in well. While most of them are redshirting, they still continue to work hard and put in the effort which will pay in their first seasons next year. A few of them will make an immediate impact for us. Tucker Carlson and David Guibord will be seeing some time at two-meters which will be important because we will lose Stephen Hobbs and Nick Poggetti to graduation.
SCU: What are you two most looking forward to going into your next year at Santa Clara? Any goals for the 2010 season?
JN: I'm really looking forward to hosting the WWPA Championship. With our new pool, it's the first time we have been able to host our conference tournament. Hosting the tournament gives us a huge advantage because we do not have to travel and can play at home in front of our great fans.
MA: I'm looking forward to having a stronger schedule then we have ever had. We are playing in a lot of stronger tournaments against high-ranked teams. This will help us achieve our goal of winning the WWPA Championship.