No. 4 Gauchos Look to Continue Best Start Since 2013 at Inland Empire Classic

Ivan Gvozdanovic (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Ivan Gvozdanovic (Photo by Tony Mastres)

The Schedule
Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 at 10:20 a.m.
UCSB vs. Fresno Pacific
at Thompson Aquatic Center in Redlands, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Sunbirds: 3-0

Last meeting: W, 17-10 (Sept. 15, 2018)

Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 at 11:40 a.m.
UCSB vs. Occidental
at Thompson Aquatic Center in Redlands, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Tigers: 11-0

Last meeting: W, 22-4 (Sept. 9, 2017)

Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 at 4:00 p.m.
UCSB at Redlands
at Thompson Aquatic Center in Redlands, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Bulldogs: 12-1

Last meeting: W, 18-6 (Sept. 1, 2018)

Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 at 10:20 a.m.
UCSB vs. No. 1 USC
at Las Flores Park in La Verne, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Trojans: 20-91-2

Last meeting: W, 16-2 (Sept. 30, 2018)

Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 at 2:20 p.m.
UCSB vs. Claremont-Mudd-Scripps
at Las Flores Park in La Verne, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Stags: 14-1

Last meeting: W, 19-9 (Sept. 14, 2013)

View the complete Inland Empire Classic schedule

Inland Empire Classic Preview
The No. 4 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team will build on its 4-0 start to the season at the Inland Empire Classic in Redlands and La Verne this weekend, beginning with Fresno Pacific on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 10:20 a.m. UCSB plays two more games on the opening day of the tournament against Occidental and Redlands.

On Sunday, the Gauchos will be vying for the upset of top-ranked USC in their first matchup of the day before facing Claremont-Mudd-Scripps in the afternoon.

This will be the third consecutive year that the Gauchos compete at the tournament, hosted by University of Redlands, La Verne University, and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps.

Spreading the Love

Each game at the Triton Invite saw the Gauchos spread the goals around the entire team at an extremely efficient clip. See below:

7 different goalscorers vs Concordia, 12 goals scored

9 different goalscorers vs No. 7 Pepperdine, 11 goals scored

6 different goalscorers vs No. 4 Cal, 8 goals scored

8 different goalscorers vs No. 5 Long Beach State, 12 goals scored

No UCSB player scored more than two goals over the weekend except for junior attacker Cole Brosnan, who registered hat tricks in the wins over Concordia and Long Beach State.

Climbing Up the Ranks
The Gauchos were ranked No. 7 in the preseason Collegiate Water Polo Association (CWPA) National Preseason Poll, but they've moved up to No. 4 after week one. They are the highest-ranked member of the Golden Coast Conference, slotting in behind USC, UCLA, and Stanford. The No. 4 ranking is the program's highest since 2016.

Roland Earns First GCC Player of the Week Award

On Thursday morning, the GCC announced Danny Roland as the conference's player of the week for the first week of the regular season. The award comes after the UCLA transfer's 37 saves in four games helped the Gauchos win the Triton Invitational for the first time in program history last weekend. Roland made 12 saves, second-most in a single game in his collegiate career, in the first-place match against the Beach on Sunday. The San Rafael, Calif.-native also helped then-No. 7 UCSB defeat then-No. 4 Cal for the first time since 2004 with nine saves. He also had 10 saves in UCSB's second game on Saturday against then-No. 7 Pepperdine.

A Milestone Weekend

Last weekend at the Triton Invitational, the Gauchos reached several milestones including the program's first ever first-place finish at the tournament. In order to get to the final match against then-No. 5 Long Beach State, UCSB defeated then-No. 4 Cal for the first time since 2004. The Gauchos are off to a 4-0 start to the season for the first time since 2013.

Preseason Poll
UCSB was predicted to finish first in this year's GCC Preseason Coaches' Poll. The Gauchos received two first place votes and 20 points overall, edging out Long Beach State and Pepperdine for the top spot. Long Beach also received two first-place votes, while Pepperdine received one. Pacific finished in a close fourth place with 18 points.

Gaucho Rewind: 2018 in Review
The Gauchos ended the 2018 campaign with an 18-8 record, including 3-1 in GCC play. After winning eight of its first nine games, the program fell short in games against top-ranked UCLA and USC before rattling off another four wins in a row. After dropping games against Stanford and USC, the Gauchos won six of their last nine games, including a pair of wins against Long Beach State and a 10-6 triumph over Pepperdine at the MPSF Invite.