Gauchos Look to Remain Perfect at the Inland Empire Classic

Sept. 7, 2007

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• The Schedule
Inland Empire Classic

Saturday, Sept. 8 2007
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 7 Pepperdine (at LaVerne), 10:20 am
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara vs. No. 20 Cal Baptist (at LaVerne), 1 pm
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara at No. 19 Pomona-Pitzer, 3:40 pm

Sunday, Sept. 9, 2007
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara at Redlands. 10:20 am
No. 6 UC Santa Barbara vs. Chapman (at Redlands), 2:20 pm

• This Week In Water Polo
The No. 6 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team has a full weekend ahead as they play five games at the Inland Empire Classic. The Gauchos will open with No. 7 Pepperdine on Saturday followed by a game with No. 20 Cal Baptist with both being played at the University of LaVerne. Later in the afternoon, the Gauchos will trek to Pomona where they will round out the day with a game versus No. 19 Pomona-Pitzer. On Sunday, UCSB will play Redlands and Chapman to round out tournament action.

• Gauchos Capture Tournament Crown At UCSD Triton Invitational
UCSB opened the 2007 season last weekend in great fashion as they posted a 4-0 record and captured first place at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational. The Gauchos opened with an 11-5 win over No. 17 Air Force and followed up with a commanding 19-4 win over No. 19 Pomona-Pitzer. The following day, the Gauchos took host, No. 8 UC San Diego down, 10-8 to earn their spot in the tournament's championship game. UCSB battled with No. 6 Pepperdine and came out on top with a 7-6 win over the Waves to take the tournament crown. After last weekend's showing, the previously No. 7 ranked Gauchos have moved up one spot on the Collegiate Water Polo Association Top-20 Poll.

• Price Earns Mikasa MPSF Co-Player Of The Week Honors
Junior Miles Price led the Gauchos in the win over Pepperdine last Sunday. The driver posted four of the Gauchos' seven goals, including the game-winner. Price was also the only UCSB player to score in every game over the weekend and tallied a team-leading eight points. For his standout performance, Price earned MPSF Co-Player of the Week honors, which he shared with Cal's Michael Sharf. In addition to leading the Gauchos in goals scored, Price also collected three steals and three assists at the tournament and posted a .571 shooting percentage (8-for-14). The Canyon, Calif. native also extended his scoring streak to 16 consecutive games, carried over from last season. This marked Price's first MPSF Player of the Week honor of his career. He was also named UC Santa Barbara's Golden 1 Student-Athlete of the Week.

• The Wright Stuff
2006 MPSF Honorable Mention Rick Wright opened his senior season with a strong weekend manning the Gaucho goal. In the game versus Pepperdine, Wright posted an impressive 14 saves and tallied eight against UC San Diego. Currently Wright averages 10.5 saves per game and has a save percentage of .644.

• The Ross Round-Up
Senior Ross Sinclair, a Third Team All-American in 2006, had a solid opening weekend as he tallied a pair of goals in three games (all except the UCSD game) to rank second on the team with six goals on the year. Sinclair currently leads UCSB with nine assists on the season and had four in the game against Pomona-Pitzer. At the tournament, the driver also had two steals, three earned penalties and ejections and four field blocks.

• Hat Trick Happy
Four Gauchos posted three goals or more across the four games at last weekend's UCSD Triton Invitational. Sophomore Stefan Partelow posted the first hat trick of the season with a trio of goals versus Air Force. Partelow also tallied two goals against UC San Diego. Against Pomona-Pitzer, both senior Coulson Lantz and sophomore Zsombor Vincze posted hat tricks. Zsombor is currently tied third on the team with five goals scored. Matt Dale's hat trick led UCSB in its 10-8 win over UC San Diego and Price's four goals led the Gauchos past Pepperdine. All but one of the Gauchos that played in last weekend's games scored at least one goal, early evidence of this team's depth.

• The Wigo File
Now in his third season as the head coach of the UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team is three-time Olympian and former captain of the USA Men's National Team, Wolf Wigo. Overall, Wigo has posted a 38-31 (.550) record at UCSB. In 2006, just his second year with the program, Wigo led his team to a fifth place finish in the MPSF and an overall record of 21-14, marking the first 20-win season for UCSB since 1990. Wigo also coached three players to All-MPSF honors and Ross Sinclair became the first player he has coached to earn collegiate All-American honors.

• Scouting The Inland Empire
Pepperdine is currently 3-1 with its only loss coming to UCSB last weekend. The Waves are currently ranked No. 7 in the CWPA Coaches Poll. Last weekend, junior Adam Hewko led Pepperdine with 10 goals while J.P. MacDonnell chipped in eight goals of his own.

The Gauchos second game of this weekend's tournament will be against No. 20 Cal Baptist. The Lancers, who also participated in last weekend's Triton Invitational, are 1-3 on the season after dropping games to Pepperdine, Loyola Marymount and UC Davis; their lone win came against Pomona-Pitzer, 17-10.

Pomona-Pitzer will be in search of its first win of the season after it posted a 0-4 record at the Triton Invitational. The Hens dropped games to UCSD, UCSB, Air Force and Cal Baptist.

Redlands has yet to play a game this season and will open the tournament against Chapman. The Bulldogs earned the No. 1 ranking amongst Division III teams in the CWPA poll. The Gauchos will end the weekend against Chapman, the seventh-ranked Division III team.

• 2006 In Review
Overall, UCSB finished 2006 with a 21-14 record, marking the first 20-win season since 1990 when the Gauchos finished 23-9. The Gauchos posted a 3-5 MPSF record and took two top-four teams, Stanford and UCLA, into overtime during conference competition. UCSB placed fifth during the conference's regular season and took fifth at the MPSF tournament. In the final Collegiate Water Polo Association Top-20 Coaches Poll, the Gauchos were ranked sixth, their best finish since 1994. All of these feats were accomplished without a single senior on the Gaucho roster.

• Coming Attractions
Following this weekend's Inland Empire Classic, UCSB will head north and face No. 8 UC Davis on Sept. 14 before taking part in the Northern California Tournament being hosted by Cal Sept. 15-16. The next week, the Gauchos will play UC Irvine in a non-conference match-up and then participate in a couple of games at the Long Beach State Mini Tournament on Sept. 22. Another mini tournament at Pepperdine is on schedule for Sept. 29 followed by the conference match-up with UCI the following day. UCSB opens October on the road with a game at UC San Diego on the fifth and will participate in the Southern California Tournament at Irvine on Oct. 13-14. After the tournament-intensive portion of the season winds down, the Gauchos have a stretch of MPSF games including the only four home match-ups of the season. The Gauchos will host Pacific (Oct. 19), USC (Oct. 20), Cal (Nov. 4) and UCLA (Nov. 10) at Campus Pool. This season's MPSF Tournament is hosted by Cal and will be held Nov. 23-25.