Becoming an impact player in your first season with any team is a difficult task, but that's what Santa Clara women's water polo player Caitlin Espe accomplished last season. Espe, a senior utility player from Los Gatos, Calif., racked up 24 goals, 30 assists, 36 steals and drew 20 ejections for the Broncos. After transferring from West Valley College in the fall of 2009, Espe proved to be one of the Broncos best all-around players.
The Broncos are in full swing this fall, preparing for the 2011 season in which they look to improve on their sixth place finish in the WWPA. SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) had a chance to catch up with Caitlin Espe (CE) to see how the off season was going.
SCU: Last season the team finished with a 17-16 record and a sixth place finish at the WWPA conference tournament. What are the team's goals going into the 2010-2011 season?
CE: Going into the 2011 season we are obviously looking to improve on our finish in WWPA's. We also have a very young team so our main priority is to learn to play well together and have a great team dynamic.
SCU: What kind have things have you personally and the team been doing this off-season? Are there any parts of your game that you have been focusing on?
CE: Many teammates played on club teams over the summer and during the preseason we have been focusing on the basics so once season starts we can build on them. I'm personally working on my 2 meter defense since we lost our starting guard last year.
SCU: Last year was your first year at Santa Clara after transferring from West Valley. How was that transition process? Was there anyone in particular that was really helpful to you?
CE: The transition was very smooth with the help of the team and coach Keith Wilbur.
SCU: You have an older brother who played football at University of San Diego. Was playing college water polo something you always strived for?
CE: Growing up with family members who participated in college athletics, I have always felt the motivation to become a collegiate athlete as well.
SCU: Being a student-athlete requires great time management. How have you learned to manage your time effectively?
CE: Our team has always focused on academic goals and having the support of the team and the athletic department has made being a student-athlete possible.