During his time on the Mission Campus, Marcus Akerland has developed into a key contributor for the Bronco men's water polo team. Last season, the speedy driver out of Freemont, Calif. helped lead the Broncos to a 19-15 record and a third place finish at WWPA's.
Akerland has a successful season himself, registering career highs with 16 goals, 26 assists, 34 steals, and 12 field blocks. SantaClaraBroncos.Com (SCU) had the chance to sit down with Akerland (MA) to see how the summer had been progressing.
SCU: How have your first two weeks of summer practice been? Any new faces?
MA: The first couple weeks of summer have been great. We have a really tough schedule and the quick turnaround after finals was really nice because we have been able to carry all of the momentum we built from spring into the summer. It has been great to be able to work on different aspects of the team game rather than simply spend these first weeks getting in shape. There have been three players thus far this summer in Matt Burke, C.J. D'Arienzo, and Kyle Surber, and I'm really excited to play with them this upcoming season.
SCU: Your team played in your first tournament of the summer last weekend at Loyola Marymount. The team finished 1-3 going against some tough competition. How did the team feel about last weekend's play?
MA: Of course our goal going into every game we play in is to win, and despite our 1-3 record, I feel like we had plenty of bright spots last weekend at LMU. It was nice for everyone to get the opportunity to play and to experience the high level competition. We managed to play through some injuries, and beat a perennial Top-10 team in UC Santa Barbara. I feel like Jimmy Moore and John Nash played particularly well last weekend and I'm looking forward to watching them continue to develop.
SCU: With a limited amount of people on campus, how does the summer offer a chance for the team to build strong chemistry together?
MA: Summer is a great time to build team chemistry. All of the teams I've been on at Santa Clara been a tight knit group, however I feel especially close with the group of guys who are returning for this coming season. The summer time is pretty laid back and there are not a lot of people on campus, so we spend a lot of time together hanging out.
SCU: Do you have any plans this summer to get away from the pool and go on vacation?
MA: I'm actually really excited because this summer I have the opportunity to go on a bunch of different trips, both with family and friends. A bunch of guys from the team are going to Clear Lake for the 4th of July weekend, then later that month I'm going to Bass Lake with Brett Zylstra. During the down time in August I'll be going to Lake Tahoe with my family and then to Washington, D.C. to visit some friends before the start of the season at the end of the month.
SCU: What kinds of goals do you have for the team and individually going into your senior season?
MA: As a team we are very confident and optimistic about this upcoming season, and our ultimate goal is to win the WWPA Championships and earn a trip to the NCAA Championships. This has been a goal we have had every year that I have been here, and each year we have gotten closer and closer. I am confident that this will be the year that we will take that next step as a program. Individually, I am working on being a more complete player, which includes working on different aspects of defense, and being more of a facilitator on offense. I'm working on becoming a player who is not only able to play at a high level, but also raises the level of play of his teammates.