Laura Burtness Looks to Start Off the Water Polo Season Right

By: Jessica Shusko

SANTA CLARA, Calif.-
Junior Laura Burtness (LB) is hopeful that the Broncos will have a successful, winning season this year. In the off-season, Burtness has been training hard to prepare for the tough season the team will face. This year, the Broncos conference finals, the WWPA's, will be held here on the Mission campus in the Sullivan Aquatic Center April 26-28. SantaClaraBroncos (SCB) recently caught up with Burtness to talk about the upcoming season.

Be sure to come out and support your Broncos on their home opener on Feb., 1 at 3:30 p.m. vs. Hawaii.

SCB: What are you most looking forward to this season?
LB: Our team is going to be very strong this season. Last year we had multiple players out for the season with injuries and having them back in the pool this year is going to be great. We are also much faster than we have been previous years so I think that with this extra speed we will be able to get even more counter attack opportunities. Another strength we have is our versatility. We have multiple players who can play more than one position, which will create many more opportunities for us against opponents.

SCB:
Your season starts with the UCSB Winter Invite where the first two games of the season will be conference game against UC San Diego and LMU. What will you be doing to prepare for such high-stake games so early in the season?  
LB: The team has been working even harder at the beginning of this season compared to previous years. Since we know that our first two games are some of our most important, we want to be completely prepared for them. Everyone has been pushing each other really hard in practices so we can all be on top of our game and connected as a team before those games come along.

SCB: Have you set any personal goals for this season?
LB: My freshman year we had a really strong guard/utility player, Caitlin Espe, who I have always looked up to.  Caitlin practiced exactly how she played and always put in the extra effort to become stronger so this year I am really trying to emulate the type of player she was.

SCB: What is something you are hoping to improve on as a team from last season?
LB: Last season we had a lot of trouble with our man up opportunities so I know that is something we are really trying to focus on this season both offensively and defensively.

SCB: This year, the WWPA's will be held here at the Sullivan Aquatic Center on the Mission campus, what kind of advantage does this give the team?
LB: The opportunity to play our conference tournament at home is huge! We absolutely love playing at home in our pool. We have received some great support in previous years from friends and classmates cheering us on during games so we hope to receive even more support this year. We can't wait to see everyone at the Sullivan Aquatic Center for our many home games this season, especially WWPA's at the end of April!