No. 12 Long Beach State and Familiar Foe No. 11 UC Irvine Up Next For No. 6 UC Santa Barbara

No. 12 Long Beach State and Familiar Foe No. 11 UC Irvine Up Next For No. 6 UC Santa Barbara

Nov. 2, 2006

The Schedule
Saturday, Nov. 5, 2006 -
#6 UC Santa Barbara vs. #12 Long Beach State, 2 p.m.
at UCSB's Campus Pool

Sunday, Nov. 6, 2006 -
#6 UC Santa Barbara at #11 UC Irvine, 12 p.m.
at Anteater Pool

On Slate This Week
The No. 6 UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team will return home for one game this weekend against Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent No. 12 Long Beach State on Saturday at 2 p.m., which will be followed by a conference road game against No. 11 UC Irvine at noon on Sunday.

A Refresher
UCSB split a pair of road matches last week as they upset then-ranked No. 6 Pacific on Saturday earning the first conference victory of the season. Matt Dale and Miles Price each scored twice against the Tigers while Rick Wright collected 11 saves. The following day, the Gauchos weren't as lucky as they fell to No. 2 Cal, 19-6 marking their biggest margin of loss this season. Ross Sinclair posted two of UCSB's six goals on Sunday and Wright tallied seven saves.

The Gauchos are now 16-11 overall on the season and 1-3 in MPSF play, tying them with UC Irvine for sixth in the conference standings. No. 1 USC continues to dominate the conference with a perfect 5-0 MPSF record and 18-0 season mark.

Out-mining the 49ers
This Saturday's game will be the first of the season between the Gauchos and 49ers. Long Beach currently holds a 7-12 overall record and a 0-4 mark in the MPSF. Last weekend the 49ers were defeated by Stanford, 6-5 on Saturday before they captured a pair of wins over UC Davis (7-3) and Air Force (8-7) the next day. Senior Jay Gerardi leads the 49ers with 36 goals on the season and junior goalie Steve MacKenzie averages 9.06 saves per game.

The 49ers hold a 43-35 series advantage against the Gauchos and have won the last seven contests; the latest meeting was on November 19, 2005 where Long Beach came away with a 10-7 win.

All About the Anteaters
On Sunday the Gauchos will face UC Irvine for the fourth time this season with this game being the first to count towards their conference records. The Anteaters are 7-14 on the season and 1-3 in the MPSF having just picked up their first MPSF win with a 7-5 victory over Pepperdine last week. Irvine faced USC last and was handed a 16-6 loss October 28.

Junior Colin Mello leads Irvine with 59 goals scored this season and is tops in the MPSF with a 3.11 goals per game average. Matt Garcia, a junior, has tallied 212 saves on the season for the Anteaters and is second in the MPSF with his 10.10 saves per game average.

The Gauchos are 2-1 this season against UC Irvine having defeated the Anteaters twice in September before falling, 8-7 in a tightly fought match at the Southern California Tournament on October 14.

Wright On
Junior goalie Rick Wright collected a total of 18 saves last weekend and with his 10.39 saves per game average, he currently is first amongst MPSF goalies for saves this week. The San Diego, Calif. native has recorded 187 saves this season, which already surpasses his 131 blocks tallied in 2005, and has posted 518 total career saves.

Spreading the Wealth
Over last weekend's games, ten different players contributed to the Gauchos' 15 goals with Sinclair and Price leading with three goals each. As a testament to the Gauchos' ability to spread the scoring wealth, on average seven players score per game and eleven players have already posted double-digit goals on the season, six have scored 20 or more.

Sinclair continues to lead all players with 52 goals on the season and is sixth in the MPSF for goals per game with a 1.93 average. Travis Watts is second amongst the Gauchos with 31 goals on the season while Price, Matt Dale, Coulson Lantz and Zsombor Vincze have all collected 20 or more goals so far this season.

On the Horizon
Following Sunday's game at UC Irvine, UCSB will return home to finish the regular season at Campus Pool. On Sunday, Nov. 12 the Gauchos will face UCLA in a MPSF match-up followed by a non-conference pairing with Cal Baptist later the same day. Nov. 19 will mark the end of the regular season when the Gauchos host Pepperdine as the two teams, who have faced each other three times already this season in non-conference play, will finally go head-to-head in a MPSF pairing.