By: Jenny Anderson
SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Matt Pritchett (MP) is the No. 14 Men's Water Polo starting goalie and has been a key component for the team this year. Earlier in the season, Pritchett was named Kap7 WWPA Player Of The Week and was recently named to the WWPA First-Team. The Broncos are heading to the WWPA Championships this weekend as the No. 3 seed. We had time to catch up with redshirt junior Matt Pritchett (MP).
SCU: Why did you choose water polo?
MP: My mom signed me up to play when I was in seventh grade. I had never heard of the sport at the time, but since then I have grown to love the game.
SCU: As starting goalie this year, what has been your focus and goals for the season?
MP: As starting goalie this year, my main focus has been to work hard both in and out of the pool. I see myself as playing an essential role on this team. Going into this season, we knew that we were capable of accomplishing great things as a team, and I have made it my mission to lead my team to victory. I think that defense is the most important aspect of the game. Any team can score goals. But it takes solid defense to win games, especially those close ones.
SCU: Do you have a motto you use in water polo? If so, how does your motto help you to achieve success?
MP: My motto is "My Body Is A Cage." Taken from one of my favorite Arcade Fire songs, I have transformed these song lyrics to mean so much more than the message that they were originally intended to convey. To me, my motto means that I am one with the goal. As a goalie, my job is to defend the cage and not let any balls get by me and into the net. By thinking that my body is a cage, this allows me to enter games with the mindset that nothing is to get past me.
SCU: Do you have a pregame ritual? If so, what is it?
MP: I do indeed have a pregame ritual. I warm up for every game the same way. I believe that if you create a routine of both physical and mental preparation, and you stick to that warm-up, committing yourself to doing it before every match, then you will always be prepared for each and every game. Before each and every game, I go through a very specific and unique stretching routine that I designed for myself. I tend not to eat much before games. Sometimes I eat nothing at all. I like to play hungry. I try to be the first one in the pool and the last one out. That way I'll have no excuses if we lose a game. Other than that, I swim, do legs, pass, and take shots before every game. I talk to coach about the other team's personnel, I meditate and I pray. Then I play.
SCU: What has been the highlight of your water polo career thus far?
MP: I still have a ways to go in my career, but if I were to choose one, I would have to say that the highlight of my water polo career was recording 21 saves in our triple overtime win against UC San Diego earlier this season. We played really well as a team that game, and I felt really comfortable in the cage. I came up with some big stops when we needed them, and my team did a good job of funneling the ball to me.
SCU: What is something you have learned from being a student-athlete at Santa Clara University?
MP: One thing that I have learned from being a student-athlete at Santa Clara is that I am truly blessed. I am so fortunate to go to the school that I go to, play for the program that I play for, and be a part of the team that I am a part of. At Santa Clara the average student-athlete GPA is higher than that of the rest of the student body. It is comforting to know that the hard work and hours that I am putting in both in the classroom, as well as the pool, are paying off.
SCU: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
MP: In my free time, I play in three bands, hang out with my friends and go to concerts. I like watching sports on TV when I have time. But eating and sleeping are my two favorite pastimes.
The Broncos will play their first game of the WWPA Championships at 2 pm on Friday against Cal Baptist.