Nation's Best Face-Off at UCI Invitational this Weekend

Nation's Best Face-Off at UCI Invitational this Weekend

Oct. 9, 2009

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• The Schedule
UC Irvine Invitational
Saturday, October 10, 2009
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (7-3) vs. UC Davis Aggies (9-6), 12:30 pm
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. USC Trojans (11-1) or Bucknell Bison (11-6), 4:30 or 5:50 pm
at Corona del Mar High School Pool

Sunday, October 11, 2009
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. TBD
at Corona del Mar High School Pool or Anteater Pool

• A Return To The Road
After playing its first two home games of the 2009 season last Sunday, the sixth-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team will once again hit the road this week to travel to the UC Irvine Invitational, being hosted by the Anteaters at Corona del Mar High School and UCI's Anteater Pool. The Gauchos are slated to face No. 12 UC Davis in the tourney's first round on Saturday at 12:30 pm. The weekend's tournament will feature 32 games between 16 of the top collegiate programs in the nation, including all nine Mountain Pacific Sports Federation teams and 15 teams ranked in the nation's top-20. After this weekend, the Gauchos will remain on the road for away contests at UC San Diego (Oct. 16), UC Irvine (Oct. 17) and Long Beach State (Oct. 24).

• For The Record
The 2009 Gauchos enter this weekend with an overall mark of 7-3. Last weekend, UCSB played its first pair of home games. The home opener was against then-ranked No. 14 Concordia, which put up a tough fight and was able to tie the game at eight-all at the end of regulation time. Freshman Evan Dellinger clinched the victory for the Gauchos when he tallied the game-winner with just 48 seconds left in the second overtime period. In the Gauchos' second game of the day, they cruised to a 13-5 victory over Whittier.

• Working Overtime
The Gauchos' game against Concordia was the second to go into overtime this season. UCSB holds a 2-0 record in overtime games. In 2008, the Gauchos had eight games go into overtime - five of which were decided in sudden victory - and posted a 7-1 record in those games. During Wolf Wigo's tenure at UCSB, the Gauchos have posted a10-3 record in overtime games.

• A Little About The Aggies
UC Davis enters the weekend with a 9-6 overall record and is coming off of a pair of Western Water Polo Association losses after falling to UC San Diego, 9-7, and Loyola Marymount, 8-4, last weekend on the road. Cory Lyle leads the squad with 16 goals on the year while Colin Hicks is second with 13 goals. Goalkeeper Keven Peat is averaging 8.7 saves per game and 7.8 goals against. The two teams last met on Sept. 12, 2008 when the Gauchos picked up a 7-5 victory behind five goals from Milos Golic.

• Second Round Sneak Peek
Depending on the outcome of the tournament's first round game, the Gauchos will either face No. 3 USC or No. 17 Bucknell in the second round. USC enters the weekend with an 11-1 overall record. The Trojans are led by Justin Rappel, who has posted 20 goals this season. Goalkeeper Joel Dennerley is averaging just 4.3 goals against per game. No. 17 Bucknell enters the weekend with an 11-6 overall record. The Bison are led by Richie Hyden, who has already posted 35 goals this season. Goalkeeper Nick Donahue has a .534 save percentage.

• Five Alive
Sophomore Noah Smith and senior Stefan Partelow led the Gauchos with five goals apiece last week. Smith tallied a team-high hat trick in the 9-8 victory over Concordia and tacked on two more goals in the win over Whittier. Partelow tallied a goal against the Eagles and followed it up with a career-high-tying four goals against Whittier. Smith is second on the team with 18 goals this season and leads the squad with 18 earned ejections. He has scored in eight of the 10 games with seven multiple-goal showings. As for Partelow, he ranks third on the team with 15 goals and has also had goals in eight games with four multi-goal performances. Smith ranks 11th in the MPSF with 1.80 goals per game while Partelow is tied 19th with an average of 1.50.

• Rank and Order
For the past five weeks, UCSB has been ranked No. 6 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association's Top-20 poll. The Gauchos have ended the last three seasons as the nations' No. 6 team.

• Keeping Up with the Keeper
Junior Fraser Bunn currently leads all goalkeepers in the MPSF for saves per game with his average of 9.4. The native of Melbourne, Australia has started nine of the Gauchos' 10 games and has posted a total of 73 saves. On the flip side, he has allowed a league-high 9.9 goals per game. He has tallied eight saves in each of the last three games.

• Goal-ic
Junior Milos Golic - who earned First Team All-American honors in 2008 - leads the Gauchos for goals with 20 on the year. He was held scoreless for just the second time this season against Concordia, snapping a five-game scoring streak. He rebounded later in the afternoon and put away two goals against the Poets. He is tied eighth in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation with an average of 2.00 goals per game.

• The Wigo Watch
A three-time Olympian and former captain of the USA Water Polo Men's National Team, Wolf Wigo is now in his fifth season as the head coach at UC Santa Barabra. During his tenure with the Gauchos, Wigo has led UCSB to a 77-59 record, including three consecutive winning seasons. The Gauchos have finished the past three seasons ranked sixth nationally and last year, UCSB finished fifth in the always-competitive Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. Wigo has led three players to All-American honors including Milos Golic, who was the first UCSB first team honoree in over 20 years.

• Countdown Till Campus Pool
The Gauchos will play seven games on the road before returning to Campus Pool on Thursday, Oct. 29 for a MPSF game against perennial powerhouse USC at 4 pm.

• Talk'n Gauchos
UCSB Athletics has a new weekly radio show called Talk'n Gauchos which airs every Tuesday from 6-7 p.m. on AM 1490 KIST. The show is broadcast live from State & A Bar and Grill, located on the corner of State Street and Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara. Fans are encouraged to attend the show for free gear and ticket giveaways or to even e-mail a question in to one of the guests and have it read live over the air. The show also airs live online via audio streaming and fans can click here to check out the entire lineup of live audio streaming online.