Sunday October 9, 2011
No. 5 UC Santa Barbara (11-5) at No. 1 Stanford (7-2), 12 p.m.
at Avery Aquatic Center (Stanford, Calif.)
UCSB went 3-1 at the SoCal Tournament in Long Beach last weekend to place fifth. The Gauchos defeated then-ranked No. 12 UC San Diego, 15-9, and lost to No. 2 UCLA, 12-5, in the quarterfinals. UCSB rallied hard on Sunday, defeating No. 6 Pacific, 9-8, in sudden victory overtime and then No. 7 UC Irvine, 9-6, to finish the tournament strong. Sophomore Lazar Komadinic had five goals and junior Brian Shoemaker had four over the weekend to lead the Gauchos.
Stanford went a perfect 4-0 in Long Beach, winning the tournament and helping the Cardinal supplant USC for the No. 1 ranking in the Collegiate Water Polo Association Men's Varsity National Top 20 poll.
Sunday's game opens conference play for the Gauchos, who placed seventh last year in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation. The Cardinal finished fourth in the MPSF regular season last year and then lost to USC in the MPSF Tournament championship game.
Stanford won the SoCal Tournament through its defense, as the team has allowed only 6.22 goals per game this season. But offense is where UC Santa Barbara shines, averaging 12.56 goals per game and leading the conference in total goals with 201.
Stanford freshman Alex Bowen is the MPSF Conference Player of the Week after scoring 11 goals over the weekend, including six in the championship game against Cal.
Junior goalkeeper Myles Christian is currently second in the conference with 10.79 saves per game. Christian totaled 11 saves against Pacific in the Gauchos' sudden-death overtime victory.
Sophomore Matt Gronow has scored 30 goals on the season, at a pace of 1.88 per game. Junior attacker Jessie Gillespie is second on the team with 19.
A Look Ahead
UCSB will take on UC San Diego next Friday, Oct. 14 in La Jolla, Calif. The Gauchos will then head back to Santa Barbara for its Alumni game at Campus Pool on Saturday at noon.