September 14, 2012

No. 5 Gauchos Travel to Stanford for Northern California Invitational

The Schedule
Saturday, September 15, 2012
NorCal Invitational at Avery Pool
UCSB vs. UC Davis, 12:15 p.m.
(If L) UCSB vs. (L) Stanford/Santa Clara, 4:50 p.m.
(If W) UCSB vs. (W) Stanford/Santa Clara, 6:15 p.m.

Sunday, September 16, 2012
NorCal Invitational at Avery and/or Belardi Pool
Schedule TBD

To view the entire tournament schedule and results, visit the Northern California Tournament web page.

Gauchos at their Finest
After sweeping the competition at last weekend's Inland Empire Classic and earning its first win at home, No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (6-0) continues to match its highest national ranking during head coach Wolf Wigo's tenure.  With two weekends of non-conference action under its belt, UCSB has now added victories over No. 11 San Diego (0-1), No. 14 Santa Clara (3-1), University of Redlands (1-7) and Whittier (2-5) to remain undefeated.  UCSB's 26-9 win over Redlands not only marked its highest scoring game of the weekend, but also the Gauchos' most single-game goals since they tallied a program-record 32 goals against Chapman (Sept. 11, 2011). 

The fifth-ranked Gauchos will kick off the NorCal Invitational play- which will be hosted at Stanford's Avery Aquatic Center -  against No. 12 UC Davis on Saturday in Avery Pool.  A win over the Aggies will spur a matchup between UCSB and the winner between No. 4 Stanford and No. 14 Santa Clara.  If the Gauchos lose, they will face the loser of the same contest.  Sunday's schedule will be determined by the outcomes of day one of the tournament and may be held in either Avery or Belardi Pool. 

Numbers Don't Lie
Recording the program's best start since 1988, the Gauchos have tallied six consecutive wins, outscoring their opponents 112-36.  Contributing to UCSB's offensive success, junior Matt Gronow is amidst a nine-game scoring streak dating back to the 2011 season.  Gronow has led the Gauchos in four of six UCSB contests with a total of 19 goals, including three hat tricks and a stellar five goal performance against Whittier (Sept. 9).  Just as impressive, junior attacker Evan Dellinger has led offensively in three games, with two hat tricks and a five goal feat against San Diego (Sept. 8) to post 17 overall goals.  Senior Brian Shoemaker continues the theme of consistency as he is amidst a seven-game scoring streak and has scored nine goals for the Gauchos this season.  The trifecta has tallied a total 45 goals, each scoring in all six games of the 2012 season.  On the defensive end, senior goalkeeper Myles Christian leads with 29 saves and four steals, while freshman Andrew Patterson leads with an average of 12.0 saves per game. 

The Nation's Best Start out Perfect 
Noted as the toughest men's water polo conference, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation has the statistics to back it up.  Going into the NorCal Tournament, the MPSF has compiled a 39-0 record.  Of nine MPSF teams, seven remain unbeaten, while this weekend opens non-exhibition play for Stanford and No. 7 Pacific, both with 0-0 records. 

"Pool Play"
The Northern California Invitational is comprised of 16 teams, 15 of which are ranked in the Collegiate Water Polo Association's National Top 20. Divided between four brackets, the nation's powerhouse programs will be slated to face fierce competition in hopes of a tournament championship.  Bracket A features No. 1 USC, No. 8 Pepperdine, No. 9 Long Beach State, and Pomona-Pitzer.  Bracket B consists of No. 2 UCLA, No. 7 UOP, No. 10 Loyola Marymount and No. 18 Concordia.  Bracket C includes No. 3 Cal, No. 6 UC Irvine, No. 11 UC San Diego and No. 16 Air Force.  Bracket D hosts the fifth-ranked Gauchos, No. 4 Stanford, No. 12 UC Davis, and No. 14 Santa Clara.

What's Next
After four games this weekend, the squad will head to USC for a neutral site game against Concordia (Sept. 23).  Following a trip south, the Gauchos will return home to host the Southern California Tournament (Sept. 29-30) at UCSB Campus Pool and Dos Pueblos High School. 

To purchase tickets for the tournament, visit the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, call (805) 893-UCSB or click here.