Gauchos Head to Irvine for Barbara Kalbus Invitational

Kelly Murphy (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Kelly Murphy (Photo by Jeff Liang)

The Schedule
Friday, Feb. 22, 2019 at 4:15 p.m.
No. 8 Arizona State vs. No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (11-3)
at Corona Del Mar High School

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 at 8:00 a.m.
TBD vs. No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (11-3)
at TBD (UC Irvine or Corona Del Mar HS)

Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019 at TBD (1:30 or 2:45 pm)
TBD vs. No. 9 UC Santa Barbara (11-3)
at TBD 
(UC Irvine or Corona Del Mar HS)

Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019 at TBD

Even Split in La Jolla Earns Sixth-Place Finish
No. 9 UC Santa Barbara went 2-2 at the Triton Invitational two weekends ago, earning wins over UC San Diego, 4-3, and UC Davis, 11-5 but falling to UC Irvine, 11-7 and Arizona State, 7-5. The Gauchos took a sixth place finish in the tournament, and were led by Sarah Snyder and Amanda Legaspi, who put up team-highs of six and five goals, respectively, throughout the weekend.

Barbara Kalbus Invitational Preview
The Gauchos will look to build on their strong 11-3 start as they get set for this weekend's Barbara Kalbus Invitational. UCSB's four-game slate will be played at both UC Irvine and Corona del Mar High School. The Gauchos open up with another rematch against Arizona State at Corona del Mar, a team they have already faced twice this year. That game is set for a 4:15 p.m. start. UCSB already defeated the Sun Devils 11-10 at the ASU Cross Conference Challenge back on Feb. 3, but was ousted by ASU 7-5 in the Triton Invitational fifth-place game on Feb. 10. Amanda Legaspi had a hat trick in the win over the Sun Devils, and leads the Gauchos with four goals against them this year. Mollie Simmons has scored three times in the two meetings.

On Saturday, Santa Barbara will open the day at 8:00 a.m., with the location to be determined. The Gauchos will then play an afternoon game on Saturday and will close things out with one more on Sunday.

The weekend's full schedule along with all competing teams can be found here – Barbara Kalbus Invitational Tournament Page

Offensive Leaders
Junior Sarah Snyder and freshman Amanda Legaspi have led UCSB with extreme efficiency on the offensive end, combining for more than a third of the team's goals (50 of 141) through 14 games. Snyder has already put away 27 goals on a team-best .574 shooting percentage, has tallied 10 multi-goal efforts and 12 drawn exclusions, and is the only Gaucho to have earned Big West Player of the Week honors thus far. Legaspi meanwhile established her offensive proficiency by opening her career with a six-goal performance in the season-opening win over CBU. She comes in No. 2 on the team with 23 goals, converting at a 52.3 percent clip. Both players also hold team-highs of 29 points, while Kate Pipkin (17 goals, 9 assists) is third with 26 points.

Defensive Leaders
Goalkeepers Becca Buck and Kenzi Snyder have split time at goalkeeper for the second straight season, and have done a solid job defending the cage. Snyder has tallied 64 saves, posting a 7-3 record. Buck meanwhile has a perfect 4-0 mark thus far and 48 saves.

Sophomore attacker Mollie Simmons has been nearly unbeatable winning sprints for the Gauchos this year (44-3), but she has also been a force on defense, leading the Gauchos with 18 steals to this point. Senior Sarah Kreiser (14) and Amelia Meckelborg (11) come in second and third on the team. Kreiser also leads the team with 10 field blocks, three more than any other Gaucho.

Hottest Start Ever?
UCSB had never enjoyed a better start than the one we saw through two weekends of competition, posting a 9-1 record through 10 games. The Gauchos' dominant opening weekend also saw them post a 4-0 mark out of the gates for the first time since 2013. There have been only four other times since 1996 that UCSB has started with a 4-0 record, but the program had never before seen nine wins through its first 10 games.

Six Straight
The Gauchos opened the month of February by winning its first six games, awarding them their first six-game win streak since the start of the 2013 season. It was just the sixth time UCSB went on a run of six straight wins since 1996.

Ranked Opposition
Santa Barbara has shown it isn't afraid of a challenge this year, especially against other top-25 teams. The Gauchos are currently 9-3 against ranked opponents this year and 3-2 against opponents who entered the matchup with a higher ranking. So far, the Gauchos have earned "upset" wins against Indiana, Wagner, and Arizona State.

National Rankings
Fans of the Gauchos haven't been the only ones to take notice of UCSB's hot start – the nation has noticed as well. The strong play out of the gates saw Santa Barbara jump from what was a No. 17 preseason ranking in the CWPA national polls to No. 10 through just one week of play, the second-largest jump of any team in the country. UCSB currently sits at No. 9 in the nation but has seen as high as a No. 7 ranking this season, it's highest since May of 2016.

No-Goal Zone
UCSB's 14-0 shutout win over Iona on Feb. 3 was the Gauchos' first shutout of the season and their third in the last two years. Prior to 2018, UCSB hadn't recorded a shutout victory since Feb. 15, 2003 in a 10-0 win over George Washington.

Snyder Named First Big West Player of the Week
Following a standout opening weekend performance in which she scored at least two goals in all five appearances, junior utility Sarah Snyder was named the first Big West Player of the Week of the 2019 season in late January. The Gauchos' leading scorer from last year, Snyder picked up right where she left off, finishing with team-highs of 14 goals and nine drawn exclusions while leading the Gauchos to a 4-1 record at the UCSB Winter Invite. She put together back-to-back four-goal, one-assist efforts, helping UCSB to convincing wins over Indiana and Wagner, teams which held higher preseason rankings than the Gauchos. For the second straight year, a Gaucho kicked off the Big West PoW awards with a win following the Winter Invite, as Snyder followed in the footsteps of current teammate and senior captain Sarah Kreiser.

Trust The Process: Shannon Moran
We sat down before the start of the season with senior Shannon Moran to talk about her experiences with water polo, community service, and her role as a leader being one of the team's three co-captains in 2019. Read the feature story and watch the interview by clicking here.