UCSB Heads to Irvine for the UCI Invitational

The Schedule 

UCI Invitational Schedule
Saturday, February 25, 2012 at UCI Invitational
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (8-7) vs. No. 4 Cal (12-2), 11:30 am
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara vs. TBD, 4:30 pm or 5:45 pm

Sunday, February 26, 2012 at UCI Invitational
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara vs. TBD
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara vs. TBD

Coming Up for the Gauchos
The No. 15 Gauchos return down south to Irvine, Calif. for the UCI Invitational this weekend. The Gauchos' first game is at Corona del Mar High School, and they will play No. 4 Cal at 11:30 am. Depending on the results from the first match, UCSB will face either undefeated No. 5 Arizona State (12-0) for the third time this season, or No. 13 UC Davis (3-8). The games on Sunday will depend on the results from Saturday's matches.

Checking Out the Competition
The UCI Invitational will be filled with nothing less than spectacular water polo matches. There are 16 teams headed to the tournament, and 15 out of the 16 teams are ranked in the top-20 in the CWPA Poll. For the first time this season, the Gauchos have the potential to face the top-5 teams who will all be in attendance. This includes No. 1 Stanford (8-0), No. 2 USC (8-1), No. 3 UCLA (8-1), Cal and ASU. The Gauchos will face at least one of these teams, as they will be in the same pool as Cal and ASU, which they previously lost to this season.

Last Time Out
Two weekends ago, UCSB traveled down to La Jolla, Calif. for the UCSD Triton Invitational. The Gauchos faced the host UCSD and defeated them in the first game of the day. UCSB was not so lucky in the next two games of the weekend, when they suffered back-to-back losses for the second time this season, against both ASU and No. 11 Indiana. UCSB rallied for the last game of the tournament when it beat No. 17 Cal State Northridge for the second time this season, and placed seventh overall in the tournament.

On the Record
UCSB is headed to the UCI Invitational with a record of 8-7. The Gauchos moved up yet another spot in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Poll and are now ranked No. 15. Their non-conference record currently ranks third in the Big West Conference behind UCI and Pacific.

Jumping in Front of the Competition
Juniors Bryce Winton and Kacey Creek have jumped into the drivers seat for the Gaucho offense. Winton still leads the team in goals scored with 22, and last weekend was no exception. She was a key factor in grabbing the win against CSUN, when she scored the most goals for the Gauchos in the game. Creek had a solid past weekend, scoring in three out of the four games. Creek scored the most goals for the Gauchos at the UCI Invitational, posting two goals in two of the games.

On a Roll
Junior Shelby Haroldson also had a strong weekend. She posted one goal for UCSB in every game. She not only leads the team with 27 assists, but she also leads UCSB with 23 steals.

Goalie is at It Again
Junior Ruth Milne had a total of 41 saves this past weekend. The two wins the Gauchos obtained were aided by the double-digit saves posted by Milne. She has played in every game for the Gauchos, and continues to be a force to be reckoned with for the Gaucho defense.

What's Coming Up
After this weekend, the Gauchos are on the road again to the Cal Lutheran Invite in Thousand Oaks, Calif. on Saturday, March 3.

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