Gauchos Take on Azusa Pacific, Pomona-Pitzer Saturday at Claremont Convergence

Sarah Snyder (Photo by Jeff Liang)
Sarah Snyder (Photo by Jeff Liang)

The Schedule
2019 Claremont Convergence
Hosted by Pomona-Pitzer, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps and La Verne
Tournament Central Page

Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019 at 11:30 a.m.
Azusa Pacific (8-8) vs. No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (13-5)
at CMS Axelrood Pool in Claremont, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Cougars: 3-0
Live Stats
| Video

Saturday, Mar. 2, 2019 at 5:45 p.m.
Pomona-Pitzer (5-5) vs. No. 10 UC Santa Barbara (13-5)
at Haldeman Pool in Claremont, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Sagehens: 7-0
Live Stats
| Video

Gauchos Split Games at Barbara Kalbus Invite
No. 10 UC Santa Barbara went 2-2 at last weekend's Barbara Kalbus Invitational in Irvine, Calif. The Gauchos won back-to-back games over So-Cal schools No. 22 San Diego State, 11-5 and No. 14 UC San Diego, 8-6, but were bested in their Friday opener by No. 9 Arizona State, 9-6 and in the 9th-place game by No. 8 UC Irvine, 11-9. Sarah Snyder led UCSB with 11 goals and 10 drawn exclusions over the four games, while her younger sister Caitlyn went for six goals and three assists. Kate Pipkin added 10 points of her own, tallying five goals and five assists.

Claremont Convergence Preview
The Gauchos will look to build on a strong 13-5 start with two games at the Claremont Convergence this Saturday. UCSB is set to open the day against Azusa Pacific (8-8) at 11:30 a.m. at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps' Axelrood Pool. The Gauchos will have a few hours inbetween games before playing at Pomona-Pitzers Haldeman Pool against the host Sagehens (5-5). UCSB has never lost to either opponent, going a combined 10-0 against them including seven straight wins over Pomona-Pitzer.

Offensive Leaders
Junior utility Sarah Snyder has been UCSB's most consistent offensive player this season, totaling team-highs in goals (38), points (40), shooting percentage (.559), and drawn exclusions (22). She is the only Gaucho to be named Big West Player of the Week this year, having earned the honor following the first weekend of the season. Right behind her on the statsheet is senior utility Kate Pipkin with 36 points. Pipkin's 22 goals are the third-most on the team, while her 14 assists rank second behind senior Sarah Kreiser's 15. Coming in third in points is attacker Amanda Legaspi, who has totaled 34 points. The freshman out of La Verne, Calif. has been an offensive force, sitting right behind Snyder for team-highs in goals (28), shooting percentage (.528) and drawn exclusions (15).

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, holding opposing teams to seven goals or fewer in 14 of 18 games, including one shutout. Snyder has tallied 91 saves, posting a 9-5 record. Buck meanwhile has a perfect 4-0 mark thus far and 55 saves.

Along with being the Gauchos' top sprinter, attacker Mollie Simmons has also been a force on defense, leading the Gauchos with 23 steals to this point. Seniors Sarah Kreiser (16) and Kate Pipkin (13) come in second and third on the team. Kreiser also leads the team with 12 field blocks, four 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.

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 11-5 against ranked opponents this year and 3-4 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
After starting the year with a No. 17 preseason ranking in the CWPA national polls, UCSB jumped to No. 10 through just one week of play, the second-largest jump of any team in the country. The Gauchos remain at No. 10 entering the Claremont Convergence, but have seen as high as a No. 7 ranking this season, their highest since May of 2016.

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.

We're Shooting First
UCSB has been nearly unbeatable in sprints this year, thanks in large part to sophomore Mollie Simmons. The former Orange Lutheran High School standout has gone won 57 sprints this year, while losing just five.

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.

2019 UCSB Women's Water Polo Statistics