No. 10 UCSB Begins 2018 Season at Triton Invitational

Photo by Eric Isaacs
Photo by Eric Isaacs

The Schedule
Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at 9:40 a.m.
UCSB vs. Redlands
at Canyonview Pool in San Diego, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Bulldogs: 12-1

Last meeting: W, 14-3 (Sept. 6, 2014)

Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at 1:40 p.m.
UCSB vs. Loyola Marymount
at Canyonview Pool in San Diego, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Lions: 23-13

Last Meeting: W, 13-7 (Sept. 9, 2016)

Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018 at TBA
UCSB vs. TBA (2 games)
at TBA in San Diego, Calif.

View the Complete Triton Invitational Schedule

Triton Invitational Preview
The No. 10 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team will open its season at the annual Triton Invitational in San Diego this weekend, beginning with Redlands on Saturday, Sept. 1 at 9:40 a.m. This will be the fifth consecutive year that the Gauchos begin their season at the tournament, which has been hosted by UC San Diego since 1983.

Since 2014, UCSB boasts a 10-4 record at the Triton Invitational, outscoring opponents by a total of 172-96. This year's tournament field includes 12 teams, four of which are ranked in the top-10 of the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) Top-20 poll.

Offensive Firepower
UCSB begins its new campaign with big shoes to fill having lost its pair of ACWPC All-Americans in Shane Hauschild and Reed Cotterill. Hauschild poured in a team-high 36 goals in 2017, while Cotterill was one of the team's top playmakers, leading the way with 27 drawn ejections and 23 goals of his own.

However, the Gauchos have strong candidates to fill the offensive void with the Serbian duo of senior Boris Jovanovic and junior Ivan Gvozdanovic potentially returning to action in a larger role. Jovanovic – a 2016 All-GCC Honorable Mention – was second on the team with 31 goals on 105 shot attempts and 12 assists last season. Gvozdanovic meanwhile earned his second consecutive All-GCC Honorable Mention after registering 24 goals, 10 assists and 11 steals on an efficient .338 shooting percentage.

Also presumably backing up the Novi Sad, Serbia natives with bigger roles this year are a trio of sophomore returners. Adam Lott joins the aforementioned Gaucho studs as one of five players to reach the 20-goal mark last season. Cole Brosnan was fifth on the team in points (26), tallying 19 goals and seven assists last year. Chad Nelson added 17 goals of his own to go along with 12 steals.

Scouting the Competition
The Gauchos are a combined 35-14 all-time against their two scheduled foes this weekend. They open things up Saturday at 9:40 a.m. against a Redlands team that went 13-16 overall in 2017. Santa Barbara has won 12 straight season-openers dating back to 2005, a streak that history shows may have a good chance of staying alive considering UCSB owns a 12-1 all-time record against the Bulldogs.

At 1:40 p.m., UCSB squares off against an LMU side coming off a 6-22 season. It was the Lions' lowest win total since 2000, as they went 2-8 against ranked opponents during the 2017 regular season. The following day, the Gauchos will compete in two more contests. Depending on how day one finishes, potential opponents include No. 3 Cal along with fellow GCC programs No. 6 Long Beach State and No. 9 UC Irvine.

National Rankings
The Gauchos were ranked No. 10 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) National Preseason Poll. UCSB has the fifth-highest ranking among GCC schools. No. 5 Pacific leads the way for the conference, while No. 6 LBSU, No. 8 Pepperdine and No. 9 UC Irvine each earned top-10 rankings. No. 14 San Jose State is the only GCC school to be ranked outside of the top-10.

Preaseason Poll
UCSB was predicted to finish in third-place in this year's GCC Preseason Coaches' Poll, receiving 17 points. Pacific sits atop the poll after earning five first-place votes and 25 points. Long Beach State narrowly edged the Gauchos for second at 18 points, while Pepperdine took fourth with 16 points. UC Irvine and San Jose State rounded out the poll in fifth with seven points apiece.

Look Back to Last Year
One year after going undefeated in GCC play on the way to a regular season title, the Gauchos went 11-12 overall and 1-4 in conference in 2017. They began the year by going 2-2 at the Triton Invitational, defeating Concordia 15-11 and UC Irvine 14-12 in overtime, before coming up just short to then-No. 1 Cal, 8-7, and Long Beach State, 9-6. UCSB went on to be knocked out in their first conference tournament game against the Anteaters, before defeating San Jose State 18-14 in the GCC Championship 5th-place game.

Cheer On Your Gauchos!
General admission day passes are $15 for adults, and $10 for kids 12 and under and seniors 65 and over. Children 3-years-old and younger receive free admission. Tickets can only be purchased at the door. For directions to the venue, click here.