April 26, 2012

UCSB Heads Off to the Big West Conference Tournament

The Schedule
Big West Conference Tournament
Tournament Schedule
Friday, April 27, 2012
No. 15 UC Santa Barbara (19-13, 3-2) vs. Pacific (11-16, 1-4), at 5:15 pm
At UC Davis Schaal Aquatics Center

Saturday, April 28, 2012
TBD

Sunday, April 29, 2012
TBD

What's Ahead for the Gauchos
The Gauchos set off to Davis, Calif.  for the 2012 Big West Conference Women's Water Polo Championship at UC Davis' Schaal Aquatics Center this weekend. UCSB has faced all these teams before, falling only to No. 1 seed, No. 6 UC Irvine (22-6, 5-0). UCSB is 2-1 against the No. 2 seed, UC Davis (17-12, 4-1) having played the Aggies three times previously this season. The Gauchos will face the sixth-seed Pacific in the first day of the tournament. The last time the Gauchos played Pacific, they defeated the Tigers, 8-7. If the Gauchos defeat Pacific, they will face UC Davis on Saturday. The first time UCSB played UC Davis, they suffered a close loss, 10-9. About a month later, the Gauchos responded to the Aggies with a win, 10-9. UCSB saw UC Davis for the last time two weekends ago, when it suffered another close loss, 9-8. If the Gauchos defeat Pacific, it should be a close match on Saturday against the Aggies.
 
Last Time Out
Two weekends ago, UCSB traveled up north to play the last two conference games of the season. After a late start on Saturday, April 14, the Gauchos faced No. 10 UC Davis. After a close battle, the Gauchos eventually fell to the Aggies, 9-8. That Sunday, April 15, UCSB traveled to Pacific, where they defeated the Tigers, 8-7.

On the Record
The Gauchos end regular season with a current record of 19-3 overall, and a conference record of 3-2. They clinched the third seed into the Big West Tournament and remain No. 15 in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Top-25 Poll.

Season Shooters
Two Gauchos are leading the team in goals: juniors Bryce Winton and Kacey Creek. Winton and Creek both have 34 goals on the season. At this point last season, Winton had scored 14 goals. She has more than doubled her career goal total, and continues to be a fighting force for the Gauchos. Creek had scored 18 goals by this point last season, and she has almost doubled that. Things are looking good for the Gauchos going into the Big West Conference Tournament, as they have four players with goal totals over 30. Also over 30 goals are junior Shelby Haroldson and sophomore Molly Hafferkamp, both with 31 goals. Both Haroldson and Winton scored two goals each for the Gauchos last time out.

Scoring Spree
Freshman Lauren Martin has been a fighting force for the Gaucho offense this season. Martin was the only Gaucho to score a goal in both games two weeks ago against UCD and Pacific. She has scored 26 goals for UCSB this season and is the fifth-highest scorer on the team. 

Goalie Guarder
Junior Ruth Milne continues to be a solid wall for the Gauchos. She has had double-digit saves in 19 of the 32 games played this season. She is averaging 12.1 saves per game and continues to be on track to beat her school record. She posted nine saves in the close loss to UC Davis two weekends ago and 12 in the win against Pacific. She has 225 total saves this season, contributing to the Gauchos success this year.

On the Horizon
The Gauchos head to Davis, Calif. for the Big West Conference Tournament. Their first game is on Friday, April 27, at 5:15 pm. If the Gauchos win they will face UC Davis on Saturday, April 28, at 4:15 pm. The final games will be played on Sunday, April 30. Times will depend on the results for the first two days of play. The winner of this weekend's tournament will receive the conference's automatic berth into the 2012 NCAA Women's Water Polo Tournament, which will be hosted by San Diego State the weekend of May 11-12.