No. 9 Gauchos to Face No. 1 USC in Conference Opener

Oct. 6, 2006

The Schedule
Friday, October 6, 2006-
#9 UCSB vs. #1 USC, 5:00 p.m.
at USC's McDonald's Swim Stadium

Saturday, October 7, 2006-
#9 UCSB vs. #8 UC Davis, 10:00 a.m.
#9 UCSB vs. #13 Pepperdine, 3:00 p.m.
at Long Beach State's Campus Pool

The Gaucho Record
The No. 9 ranked UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team faced No. 4 UC San Diego last weekend in its home opener at Campus Pool. In a closely fought game, the Gauchos came up short, falling to the Tritons, 11-9. The following day, the Gauchos lifted their home record to 1-1 as they defeated then-ranked No. 11 UC Irvine 10-6. UCSB closed out the weekend with a narrow 11-10 victory versus No. 13 Pepperdine in Malibu. UCSB currently holds an overall season record of 12-4.

This Week
The Gauchos will face their toughest challenge so far this season when they visit the defending national champion No. 1 ranked USC for their Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference opener on Friday. The Trojans are carrying a perfect 9-0 overall record and a 1-0 mark in the MPSF and are currently riding a 28 game win streak. The Gauchos faced the Trojans once last season and suffered a 10-3 loss. Saturday's opening sprint is scheduled for 5 p.m.

On Friday, UCSB will participate in a mini tournament being hosted by Long Beach State. The Gauchos are scheduled to play No. 8 UC Davis at 10 a.m. and No. 13 Pepperdine at 3 p.m.

UC Davis currently holds a season record of 7-7 and has gone 4-2 against Western Water Polo Association foes. In a season that has already featured several repeat match-ups for the Gauchos, this will be the first pairing with the Aggies in 2006. Last season UC Davis was able to get the best of the Gauchos on two different occasions: the Aggies defeated UCSB 7-6 at the UC San Diego Triton Invitational and captured a 6-5 win at the Northern California Tournament.

The Gauchos will face Pepperdine for the third time this season on Sunday. The Waves, which are 4-7 on the season, have suffered two losses to the Gauchos including a narrow 11-10 defeat last Sunday in Malibu.

Hat Trick Happy
In the Gauchos' three games last weekend, three different players stepped up to lead UCSB. In Friday's loss to UC San Diego, junior Ross Sinclair led all Gauchos with a hat trick, marking his ninth game this season with three or more goals. Sinclair, who leads the team with 39 goals on the season, also leads the team in assists with 24.

Saturday's win over UC Irvine featured a hat trick by freshman Zsombor Vincze, marking his second of the season. Vincze and Sinclair led the team over the weekend, each tallying six goals apiece.

On Sunday, sophomore Miles Price was the one providing the trio of goals as he recorded his first hat trick of the season against Pepperdine.

Nationally Ranked
In this week's national stats report, Sinclair was ranked sixth in the nation for goals scored this season: he averages 2.4 goals per game, which ranks fourth in the MPSF.

Goalie Rick Wright also is ranked in the national stats report as No. 13 amongst the top-30 saves leaders with a saves per game average of 9.2, he also ranks fourth in the conference.

As a team the Gauchos are seventh nationally with a goals per game average of 11.9 and are sixth nationally defensively as they average 7.6 goals allowed per game.