November 9, 2006

No. 3 UCLA and No. 20 Cal Baptist to Visit Campus Pool Sunday

Nov. 9, 2006

The Schedule
Sunday, Nov. 12, 2006 -
#6 UC Santa Barbara vs. #3 UCLA
At UCSB's Campus Pool

Sunday, Nov. 12, 2006 -
#6 UC Santa Barbara vs. #20 Cal Baptist
At UCSB's Campus Pool

On Slate This Week
The sixth-ranked UC Santa Barbara men's water polo team will host two home games on Sunday against Mountain Pacific Sports Federation opponent No. 3 UCLA at noon and No. 20 Cal Baptist at 4 p.m. Both match-ups will be played at Campus Pool.

A Refresher
Last weekend UCSB captured two MPSF wins over No. 12 Long Beach State, 9-3, at home and No. 11 UC Irvine, 9-5, on the road. Junior Ross Sinclair led all Gauchos with seven goals on the weekend, scoring three against Long Beach and four versus the Anteaters. Sophomore Miles Price also collected a hat trick against the 49ers on Saturday. Junior goalie Rick Wright played every minute in the cage and collected 17 saves on the weekend.

The pair of wins lifted the Gaucho record to 3-3 in the MPSF and 18-11 overall. With their 3-3 conference mark, UCSB has already well surpassed last year's 0-8 MPSF showing and has also recorded the highest number of conference wins since the 1994 season in which the Gauchos finished 3-5 in the MPSF. UCSB is currently tied with Sunday's opponent UCLA for fourth place in the conference standings.

If the Gauchos are able to record just two more wins on the season, they will collect their first twenty win season in 16 years, with the last coming in 1990 when UCSB finished with a record of 23-9.

Taming the Bruins
This Sunday's game will be the last of the regular season between the Gauchos and a team ranked above them in the National Collegiate Top-20 Poll. No. 3 UCLA is 11-5 overall on the season and 2-2 in MPSF games. Last weekend the Bruins split two games in Northern California, dropping a narrow 8-7 decision to No. 2 Cal before defeating No. 8 Pacific, 11-5, the next day.

This season the Bruins have been led by Krsto Sbutega who has collected 23 goals for a 1.44 goals per game average, which ranks 17th in the conference. Goalkeeper Chap Lapin is fourth in the MPSF with a 5.30 goals against average and he averages seven saves per game.

The Gauchos came up short against the Bruins twice last season, first falling 8-3 on October 15 followed by an 8-2 loss on Oct. 22.

Lancer Lowdown
Non-conference foe No. 20 Cal Baptist currently holds a 23-10 overall record after splitting a pair of games last weekend, defeating Chapman 16-9 before falling 11-8 to UC Irvine.

Ryan Steiger leads the Lancers this season with 88 goals scored for a 2.67 goals per game average while Jon Miller has recorded 255 saves this season, averaging 7.73 saves per game.

The Gauchos captured two wins last season over Cal Baptist: a narrow 11-10 win on September 11 followed by a 11-5 victory later in the season on October 28.

Ross On A Roll
Junior Ross Sinclair led the Gauchos with seven goals on the weekend. The Newport Beach, Calif. native posted his fifth three-goal game of the season against Long Beach on Saturday before topping that on Sunday with four goals at UC Irvine.

Sinclair continues to lead the team with 59 goals on the season and has scored in all but four of the Gauchos' 28 contests this year. In just under three years with UCSB, Sinclair has found himself ranked 20th among Gaucho career scoring leaders and is currently ranked fifth in the MPSF this season with a 2.03 goals per game average. The 5'10" driver is also tops amongst the Gauchos for assists (38), steals (45) and field blocks (11) this year.

Going The Extra Miles
Sophomore Miles Price was second on the team with four goals last weekend, including his second hat trick of the season against Long Beach. The Canyon, Calif. native has tallied a total of 30 goals on the season -- good for third on the team behind Sinclair and Travis Watts -- and is currently riding a streak of six matches with at least one goal scored. Fourteenth in the conference with a goal per game average of 1.5, Price has already surpassed his 22 goals scored last season.

He's Got The Wright Stuff
Junior goalie Rick Wright collected a total of 17 saves last weekend with seven versus Long Beach and 10 coming against UC Irvine. With his 10.7 saves per game average, he currently is first amongst MPSF goalies in saves for the second consecutive week. The San Diego, Calif. native has recorded 206 saves this season, which already surpasses his 131 blocks tallied in 2005, and has posted 535 total career saves.

On the Horizon
Following Sunday's two match-ups, the Gauchos will remain home for their final game of the regular season as they host No. 9 Pepperdine on Sunday, Nov. 19 at noon. The match will mark the fourth pairing of the season with the Waves; the Gauchos lead this season's series 3-0.