Aug. 14, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The 2008 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team has been picked to finish sixth out of nine teams in the annual preseason coaches' poll conducted by the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation it was announced by the conference on Thursday morning.
The Gauchos finished the 2007 season with a 19-14 overall record and were sixth in the ultra-competitive MPSF. UCSB returns two of its biggest weapons for 2008: sophomore and 2007 MPSF Newcomer of the Year, Milos Golic and junior two-time Honorable Mention All-MPSF honoree Zsombor Vincze. Golic, who was second only to graduate Ross Sinclair for goals with 53, averaged 2.3 goals per game and led the team with 36 assists during his freshman campaign leading him to Honorable Mention All-American honors. Vincze was third on the team with 46 goals and led the squad with 46 earned penalties or ejections.
In the goal, junior Michael Robinson and sophomore Fraser Bunn will compete to fill the void left by graduate Rick Wright. The newcomers to watch for will be redshirt freshman Noah Smith and incoming freshman Brian Shoemaker.
USC garnished seven of the nine first-place votes and a total of 63 points to take the No. 1 spot in the poll. Stanford took second with 53 votes and two-time defending national champion Cal came in third with 49 points and one first-place vote. UCLA (46) and Pepperdine (36) were predicted to finish fourth and fifth, consecutively, while UCSB was sixth with 32 points. Long Beach State (19), UC Irvine (18), and Pacific (8) rounded out the field.
The Gauchos will open the 2008 season on Sept. 6 at the two-day UC San Diego Triton Invitational. They will open at home the following weekend with a match-up against non-conference foe UC Davis on Sept. 12 at Campus Pool.
MPSF Preseason Coaches Poll
USC 63 (7) Stanford 53 (1) Cal 49 (1) UCLA 46 Pepperdine 36 UC Santa Barbara 32 Long Beach State 19 UC Irvine 18 Pacific 8
First-place votes in parenthesis ().