No. 5 UCSB Travels to Long Beach, Hosts No. 2 USC in Busy Weekend

Brian Shoemaker (Photo by Ron Robertson)
Brian Shoemaker (Photo by Ron Robertson)

• Schedule

Saturday October 22, 2011 - 12 p.m.
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (12-6) at No. 9 Long Beach State (13-5)
at Campus Pool in Long Beach, Calif. 

Sunday October 23, 2011 - 12 p.m.
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (12-6) vs. No. 2 USC (12-2)
at Campus Pool in Santa Barbara, Calif.

• This Week in Water Polo
This weekend marks a return to conference play for the Gauchos after their 10-8 victory over UC San Diego last weekend. UCSB travels to Long Beach on Saturday to play the 49ers. The Gauchos then return to Santa Barbara for a huge match against the No. 2 team in the nation, the Trojans of USC. Recently supplanted from the No. 1 spot by UCLA, the Trojans will provide a good test for UCSB. 

The Gauchos have not played either of these teams in 2011. UCSB only has conference games remaining on its schedule until the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships from November 25-27 in Los Angeles, Calif. 

• Polls
UCSB remains at No. 5 after beating No. 9 UC San Diego in La Jolla in a non-conference match. The Gauchos are still 0-1 in conference play after their close loss to Stanford two weeks ago. USC is 3-0 in MPSF play and Long Beach is 0-2 in the conference. 

• Teamwork
Santa Barbara has found success this year by sharing the load offensively. Eleven Gauchos have scored at least 10 goals, with sophomore Matt Gronow leading the charge with 31. Freshman Chase Racich is rising fast with 22 goals on the season. 

• Point Guards
Junior Jesse Gillespie continues to lead the team in assists with 14. Gronow is right behind him with 13. Junior Brian Shoemaker has 10, despite only playing in 12 games this year. 

• Strength in Goal
Junior goalkeeper Myles Christian ranks second in the MPSF with 10.49 saves per game. Christian has remained in that spot for some time now, trailing only Michael Bailey from UC Irvine with 11.08 saves per game. 

• Upcoming
UCSB travels to Malibu to take on Pepperdine on Sunday, October 30 in a MPSF matchup.