Kaitlin Murphy's (KM) senior year is sneaking up on her as the season is right around the corner for women's water polo. After red-shirting her freshman year, Murphy has become a key contributor to her team. She added 26 goals in her junior season and is planning on doing whatever it takes to help her team in 2014. Murphy talks about the off- season and what it's going to be like entering a newly-formed conference, the Golden Coast Conference.
SCB: For someone who isn't familiar with water polo, what do you do in the off-season to get ready for season?
KM: Off-season is all about helping the new girls transition from high school to collegiate level water polo. Strong and positive team dynamics can make or break a team. With such a large freshmen class this year, it's taking every returner to do their part in making sure that the transition is as smooth as possible. Every practice during preseason we break down the game to fundamentals and work on solidifying those foundations for the season. It's really important to focus on these fundamentals and train as a unit during this time.
SCB: What are some individual goals you've set for yourself this year?
KM: I'm looking forward to finishing my water polo career with such a great group of girls and Coach Wilbur. To be honest, Murphy's Law found a way into my life each season and without the support of my team and Coach, I don't think I would be sitting in this position today. In terms of individual goals, I would like to stay healthy and help the team earn the title of Golden Coast Conference champions. I'm really confident that we have the skill and determination to do so.
SCB: What have you been doing individually to make sure you accomplish these goals?
KM: As far as staying healthy, I take my daily cocktail of ibuprofen and vitamins in addition to stretching before and icing after each practice. I think I've finally learned the importance of preventative habits, although I am a little late to jump on that train. In terms of winning our conference, it's imperative to believe whole-heartedly that we can win that title. Sometimes we get wrapped up in the pressures that might be placed on a big game against a strong team, but we've shown in several instances that we can match the skill level of those teams.
SCB: Talk about your team and their motivation to have a winning season.
KM: Since we're entering a newly formed conference this year, there will not be a bid for the winner of our conference. However, winning our conference and setting precedence for this program is definitely a goal we want to achieve. We've also discussed working our way into a Top 20 ranking. We proved last season that we can match the level of competition and physicality of top 10 teams; we just need to finish. There is vast potential and talent throughout this team and I am really looking forward to seeing us take it all the way this season.
SCB: What will it take for your team to be successful this year?
KM: Like I said earlier, positive team dynamic and confidence are going to be key in our success this season. We all have the determination and talent to take it all the way, we just need to believe that we can.
SCB: Your first game is on January 30th against Hawaii. Talk about your excitement for your first game of the season.
KM: I'm very excited to play in my last first home game ever. It marks the beginning of a much-anticipated season and the end of a big part of my life for the last ten years. I think I can speak on behalf of the senior class when I say that we're excited to get into the pool and leave everything we have in there, every game. Hawaii is a great team and we're ready to meet them with everything we've got.
SCB: What would you tell a student who wasn't planning on coming to your game, to come out and support women's water polo?
KM: Water polo is a sport unlike any other. The physicality and speed of the game creates a really energetic atmosphere that gets the team and crowd excited. The more support we have from our school, the harder w want to play for it. Our first home game on January 30th against Hawaii is going to be a challenge and we'll need all the Bronco pride we can get.